Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Rostov Oblast Governor Vasily Golubev

    Belarus and Rostov Oblast need to use hidden reserves for the development of bilateral cooperation, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Governor of Russia’s Rostov Oblast Vasily Golubev on 22 November.

    Belarus has welcomed a big delegation of Rostov Oblast which includes representatives of the Rostov Oblast government, chiefs of enterprises and municipal organizations.

    According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, visits of delegations of Russian regions are important for the development of economic and political contacts with Belarus.

    “Delegations of the Russian regions are welcome guests here, and not just because this cooperation is very advantageous for us or because we do not see the future of the Belarusian economy without Russia since much of it was dependent on Russia in old times. We do not see anything wrong about this. But nevertheless we need to ensure economic and hence political contacts. Your visits are very important and necessary for our country, "he said.

    The Belarusian President noted that over the past three years Belarus and Rostov Oblast have increased the volume of bilateral trade. In January-September 2012, the mutual trade exceeded that of the past year. “With this dynamics remaining in place, we have every chance to beat the result of the pre-crisis year of 2008,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    However, as noted by the head of state, the potential of increasing the trade is not unlimited. “Therefore, in order not to lose the momentum, we must look at where we can cooperate most effectively, in what other areas except for trade we have hidden additional reserves for development of bilateral cooperation,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    The President of the Republic of Belarus considers that it is necessary to launch joint economically integrated projects and programs. "We need to make use, as they say now, of the synergy effect of combining our industrial, technological and intellectual resources,” the head of state noted.

    According to the President, the economies of Belarus and Rostov Oblast are similar and complementary, which predetermines the most promising areas of cooperation. In particular, one of these areas is agriculture. “In agriculture we should consider explore the potential of joint infrastructure upgrade projects, advanced technologies of production and processing of agricultural products. To do this, we need to expand the interaction of agricultural scientists,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

    The head of state also believes that Belarusian companies could participate in road construction programs, transport infrastructure, water supply and drainage systems projects, as well as in the construction of residential, social, cultural, sports and other facilities in Rostov Oblast.

    “Rostov Oblast and Belarus have significant but still poorly used potential of cooperation in science and technology. Belarusian research organizations are ready to implement joint innovative and practical projects with Rostov colleagues,” the President said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined that for Belarus Rostov Oblast is a longtime and reliable partner, with which the country is ready to develop relations in various fields. “For us, Rostov Oblast and cooperation with it is a special milestone. It should be noted that this cooperation is going quite well,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    The Belarusian President invited the delegation of Rostov Oblast to discuss the most promising areas of cooperation and to take appropriate action “so that these or those decisions are materialized very quickly and without delay.”

    In turn, Vasily Golubev said that Rostov Oblast is interested in Belarus’ experience in many areas, in particular, in the construction, transport and agricultural industries.

    Talks are underway on participation of Belarusian construction workers in a project to build residential premises in Rostov Oblast. The project is similar to the one that was implemented in Moscow District. Rostov Oblast is interested in Belarus’ experience in implementing infrastructure projects. Closer cooperation in the field of utility services might enhance the quality, efficiency and smooth operation of water supply and water treatment services and provision of other amenities. “There are certain problems here, because some networks have worn out, therefore, we are interested in all new technologies used in Belarus,” Vasily Golubev said.

    He suggested stepping up cooperation in agribusiness and processing industry, because this niche is still vacant. Rostov Oblast is also interested in closer academic contacts with Belarusian scientists and closer ties between the youth of Belarus and Rostov Oblast.

    Transportation stands separately in the list of cooperation opportunities of Belarus and Rostov Oblast. “We are going to implement major projects: construction of an airport facility, upgrade of the Rostov multi-functional port, construction of automobile roads,” Vasily Golubev said. He noted that Belarus might also join these projects.

    “We are interested in all new technologies in construction, road service, upgrade of the transport infrastructure. Belarus has such experience,” Vasily Golubev said.

    “You can absolutely rely on us in all areas you are interested in. As for the quality and price, I think a few countries can compete with Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    He added that Belarus has a huge interest in Rostov Oblast, too. “We purchase a lot of things and can expand these purchases. This is critical import. Therefore, it will be a mutually beneficial exchange of goods,” the President added.

    According to the President, Belarus and Rostov Oblast of Russia should move towards creating science-intensive enterprises and joint ventures.

    Vice Premier of Belarus Mikhail Rusyi remarked that serious progress had been made in implementing joint projects that would help considerably improve trade figures.

    It is possible to start the assembly of elevators in Rostov Oblast and a system to service them.

    Besides, there is a need to unite efforts to make agricultural machines. Russia’s recent accession to the WTO makes it particularly urgent.

    Belarus and Rostov Oblast of Russia are working on large projects to start the production of turkey meat and steel structures and panels. The project will be implemented in the town of Klimovichi. Negotiations on the allocation of loans are underway.

    The Rostov Oblast Governor noted that the region has implemented a similar project. Turkey meat and products from it are very popular in the market. As for metal structures and panels, they will be used not only in agriculture but also in construction of social facilities.

    Negotiations on creation of a joint meat processing venture are nearing completion. Belarus and Rostov Oblast are exploring a possibility of setting up a joint venture to manufacture confectionery.

    There is also a great potential for cooperation in science. Rostov Oblast has strong research institutions, particularly in the area of seed production. Belarus is ready to share its ideas and practices in the cultivation of corn, sugar beet, triticale, and exchange seeds.

    Establishment of joint production of sunflower, rapeseed oil also seems promising.

    Rostov Oblast has expressed interest in the Union State programs in the agro-industrial sector and is ready to serve as a pilot site. Currently the Union State is implementing two programs aimed at promoting advanced technologies in agriculture, resource-saving green technologies, equipment for manufacture of feedstuffs, and improving the efficiency of food production by recycling waste using advanced technologies and equipment.

    Belarus can also offer its services in the area of the utilities industry, in particular, by providing Rostov Oblast with urban transport.

    The potential of Belarus’ cooperation with this region of Russia can be used for the sake of building a nuclear power plant. In 2014 Rostov Oblast will commission the third energy unit of the Rostov nuclear power plant (aka the Volgodonskaya nuclear power plant). In 2017 the fourth energy unit will be commissioned. Belarusian specialists have been involved in building the nuclear power plant.

    At the meeting the sides also touched upon the establishment of direct trade between Belarus and Rostov Oblast without mediators.

    The sides stated their great interest in further expansion of the cooperation. “I hope the meeting will give a good powerful impulse to the development of our cooperation,” summarized the Belarusian head of state.