Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Governor of Russia’s Amur Oblast Oleg Kozhemyako

    Belarus views Amur Oblast as a platform for enhancing cooperation with the Far East region of Russia, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Amur Oblast Governor Oleg Kozhemyako on 5 February.

    The President stressed. “We would like to create a Belarusian base in Amur Oblast, through which we will work with the entire Far East region,” said the head of state. He noted that the demand for Belarusian goods in the Far East region is great. "I think it would be a good place for our economic expansion in the Far East," the President added.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko said he was satisfied with the pace of development of relations between Belarus and Amur Oblast. “Although we do not have billions in trade turnover, the pace of cooperation development is very good. Not all relations should be measured in millions of dollars, agricultural machinery, supplies, although the economy is the basis of our relationship. The fact that we have created joint operations, started to manufacture the equipment necessary for the Far East is very important too." The head of state believes that close ties are the key to further steps in this direction.

    The President underlined the readiness of the Belarusian side to establish joint production facilities in Amur Oblast, and enhance the localization. Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that since 2010 Amur Oblast has assembled a lot of equipment from Belarusian spare parts. In particular, the joint assembly plants created with participation of Lidagroprommash and Gomselmash have assembled around 500 combine harvested from Belarusian knock-down kits. A plant to assemble tractors using MTZ parts was set up in Amur Oblast in 2012. The region also bought 28 BelAZ dump trucks with the payload of 130 tonnes last year. The Belarusian head of state did not rule out that the sides would agree on more joint manufacturing plants.

    According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus has an extensive experience in the agro-industrial complex and is ready to share it with Amur Oblast, especially in what concerns cattle breeding and farm crop selection. The parties have already been cooperating on the latter one. Some of Belarusian soya and wheat types were tested on the Amur experimental ground in 2012. The tests proved high crop yield of the Belarusian agricultural plants.

    The President expressed Belarus’ readiness to partake in the Amur Oblast infrastructure development. “We are ready to implement turn-key construction projects on your land. We do not need additional preferences. I believe we will surpass our rivals in quality and price,” the head of state said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus and Amur Oblast have many areas for cooperation development. “I believe we have done a lot, but this is only the foundation for our further collaboration,” the President noted.

    The head of state believes that Oleg Kozhemyako’s chairmanship in the Far East and Trans-Baikal interregional economic cooperation association council as well as Amur Oblast’s active position will contribute to the dynamic development of bilateral relations.

    In turn, Oleg Kozhemyako confirmed the oblast’s readiness to develop further cooperation with Belarus in agriculture, build up the supplies of Belarusian equipment, expand its lineup, set up service and dealer centers. Besides, Amur Oblast is interested in the Belarusian practices of developing dairy farms. The Governor invited Belarus to partake in the dairy farm turn-key construction projects in the oblast. Oleg Kozhemyako expressed confidence that the momentum in the bilateral relations would be preserved.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed the interest in developing comprehensive cooperation with Amur Oblast. He drew particular attention to the importance and effectiveness of regular visits of the Russian Governor in Minsk. This is the third time Oleg Kozhemyako has visited Minsk. And, as usual, he has brought new ideas and suggestions on how to expand cooperation with Belarus.

    During the meeting, the President and the Governor exchanged views on the status of bilateral relations and also identified the prospects of mutually beneficial cooperation for the nearest period.

    Belarus and Amur Oblast are interested in each other. Since the Russian region has been actively developing agriculture, high-quality Belarusian equipment is in high demand there. According to First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashko, Belarusian producers expand the lineup taking into account the climatic conditions of Amur Oblast. Belarusian tractors and harvesters have proven effective in the Far East.

    During the past visits the Russian guests mainly discussed deliveries and assembling of Belarusian agricultural equipment. Now the Russian delegation suggested developing service centers and dealerships.

    According to Oleg Kozhemyako, Russians intend to increase the import of Belarusian equipment despite high competition, especially given its aftersales service.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko pledged Belarus’ support to develop service maintenance in the oblast as well as train the relevant personnel.

    Amur Oblast Governor stressed: “We benefit from Belarusian supplies.” He added that Far East is a huge market of mining equipment and has great prospects for subsurface use.

    One of the areas where Belarusian experience will be useful for Amur Oblast is the construction of new agricultural facilities. The parties discussed Belarus’ participation in the construction of dairy farms of various types, their equipment as well as the construction of agro-towns. According to the President, Belarusian specialists may at first implement a pilot project of the kind. Then the oblast will be able to develop this area itself.

    Another promising area for cooperation which was discussed at the meeting is Belarus’ participation in Amur Oblast forest procurement. The Russian Governor invited Belarusian companies to work in this field.

    “We are serious partners and will do what we have agreed on,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the end of the meeting. Oleg Kozhemyako, for his part, expressed hope that Belarus-Amur Oblast cooperation would be expanding through the implementation of new projects.