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Opinions & Interviews

4 Jun 2018

Belarus, India eager to raise bilateral trade to $1bn in 2020

Belarus, India eager to raise bilateral trade to $1bn in 2020

MINSK, 4 June (BelTA) – Belarus and India intend to raise their bilateral trade to $1 billion in 2020, BelTA learned from Ambassador of India to Belarus Sangeeta Bahadur before a Belarusian-Indian business forum began on 4 June.

The ambassador noted: “Events like today’s help increase the volume of trade between our countries. When the Belarus president visited India last year, it was stated that the two countries should try and raise the trade up to $1 billion. The volume of trade is slightly more than $400 million for now but everything is being done to hit the target in 2019-2020 if not this year.”

The Indian delegation during the forum was led by Managing Director of Bajaj Industries Ltd Pankaj Bajaj. According to the executive, Belarus mainly exports potash fertilizers to India while India exports medical equipment and medications to Belarus. “But matters like air transport and visas need more work in order to fully tap into the existing potential and double or even triple the trade volume,” he stressed.

The head of the Indian delegation also talked about plans for cooperation of Indian companies with Belarus in the special economic zone Orsha-Bremino. “It is important that such an initiative will allow creating a hub, which can be used to deliver products to the Baltic states, Russia, and Ukraine. It is a very important initiative and one of the main topics the forum participants are discussing,” said Pankaj Bajaj. The Indian delegation intends to visit Orsha while in Belarus.

Pankaj Bajaj also pointed out that Belarusian companies will be able to participate in the Make in India program. “It is an ambitious project and there are things India can learn from Belarus. There are areas of expertise where Belarus is traditionally strong, for instance, the production of agricultural machines and flax fiber. Indian companies will be able to learn from Belarus’ experience,” he stated.

Director of OOO Bremino Group Vasily Dementei spoke at length about the construction of the multimodal industrial and logistics complex in the town of Bolbasovo where the special economic zone Bremino-Orsha is supposed to be created. “We made the first steps into India in September 2017. Today’s arrival of representatives of the Indian private sector is a result of the work done after the visit of the head of state. We can tell them about our project in more detail now. Moreover, we will take them to Orsha tomorrow,” he explained.

According to Vasily Dementei, the presidential decree on creating the special economic zone Bremino-Orsha — the country’s second zone of this kind after the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone — is supposed to be signed by the end of summer. “The construction of the first stage of the project is in full swing now. We will commission an automobile terminal by the end of the year and will enable all the necessary conditions for the operation of customs service, border service, phytosanitary and veterinary service units. The railway terminal has been designed as well,” he said.

The Bremino Group director said that they intend to invest over Br40 million in the project by the end of the year. “We should reach Br360 million or so step by step but we already see that additional manufacturing enterprises can be set up there, including together with Indian partners. We are going to discuss them today,” he concluded.

A Belarusian-Indian business forum took place at premises of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 4 June. The event was organized by the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Representatives of over 50 Belarusian companies and 15 CII member companies took part in the forum.

Participants of the forum focused on promising avenues of Belarusian-Indian trade and economic cooperation. Negotiations were held to discuss opportunities for cooperation in chemical industry, civil engineering, production of plant and equipment, energy industry, application of information technologies in finance, production of tractors, automobiles, fertilizers, cooperation in education, information technologies, and metallurgy.

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