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13 Mar 2013

Belarus, Omsk Oblast to set up commission on cooperation

MINSK, 13 March (BelTA) - Belarus and Omsk Oblast will set up a joint commission on trade, economic and investment cooperation. The agreement was reached in a meeting between Belarus Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and Omsk Oblast Governor Viktor Nazarov in Minsk on 12 March, BelTA learned.

The commission will be a working body in charge of joint projects, the Omsk Oblast Governor told reporters. The commission will include representatives of Belarus and Omsk and also the Siberian Accord, the organization that brings together a number of Siberian regions. The joint commission may meet once or twice a year to track progress in the implementation of the projects, to coordinate further actions on the development of cooperation between Belarus and Omsk.

Mikhail Myasnikovich, for his part, said that the Belarusian side in the joint commission will be headed by Industry Minister Dmitry Katerinich, Bellegprom chairman Mikhail Suchkov will be the vice chairman.

During the meeting the parties discussed the joint projects. "We have received full support from the government of Belarus. I think that these projects will be implemented within the time frame that we have identified," said Viktor Nazarov.

According to the Belarusian Prime Minister, they discussed concrete forms of cooperation, which to some extent is the guarantee that everything that has been planned will be put into practice. "We agreed that we will draft a kind of a road map, which will include specific joint projects and programs," he said.

Mikhail Myasnikovich intends to raise this issue in a meeting with Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in St. Petersburg on 15 March. “We will exchange views in order to enlist the support for the projects at the federal level. Of course, the Governor and the legislative assembly of Omsk Oblast have enough authorities, but it will be good if these projects get appropriate support at the federal level,” the Prime Minister said

With regard to specific projects, for example, promotion of Belarusian equipment, the parties decided to use the already tested mechanism. “We are ready to reduce interest rates on loans in order to promote Belarusian machines in Omsk Oblast,” remarked Mikhail Myasnikovich. Thus, the loans will be available to those who buy the Belarusian engineering products,” he added.

The parties discussed the projects in the field of mechanical engineering, advanced projects in the innovation sphere. This includes a carbon black project to be accomplished in Mogilev. This is a new area, including in the tire and rubber industry. Currently, Belarus imports carbon black. The project provides for the development of the production facilities with the annual capacity of 150,000 tonnes while the domestic demand in Belarus is around 70,000 tonnes. The excess will be exported, said Mikhail Myasnikovich. The project investors are companies from Omsk Oblast

The parties also talked about projects in agriculture. In particular, Omsk Oblast is interested in such areas as industrial livestock, including dairy. "We will share our experience that we have in this area," said Mikhail Myasnikovich. He noted that there are no closed topics in the cooperation with the Russian region.

Mikhail Myasnikovich also noted that Omsk is well-known military-industrial city and the region. Common points of mutual interest are many and they will be used to promote the bilateral cooperation.

In 2012 the bilateral trade between Belarus and Omsk totaled $227 million, up 34.6% as against 2011. Exports reached $79.8 million (up by 28.5%), imports amounted to $147.2 million, up by 38.1%. Belarus’ major exports to this region are hydrocarbon gas, trucks, non-ferrous metals, paints and varnishes, lifts, machinery for harvesting and threshing crops, including balers. In 2012 Belarus exported trucks ($14.3 million), special-purpose vehicles ($1.1 million). Major imports from Omsk Oblast were inorganic chemistry products, synthetic caoutchouc, rubber and rubber products, machinery and equipment.


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