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Opinions & Interviews

25 Jul 2017

Tractor industry viewed as important for Belarus

Tractor industry viewed as important for Belarus

MINSK, 25 July (BelTA) - Development of the domestic tractor industry has an impact on the entire state, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said after hearing a report from the government on the prospects of the development of domestic tractor industry, BelTA has learned.

“We should discuss a number of issues relating to the development of the domestic tractor industry and, in particular, the designing of new models of tractors. There is no need for me to talk about the importance of this industry for Belarus. It has an impact on the regions of our country and also on the entire state. For the related industrial enterprises it is a locomotive of their development. The agricultural industry, the economy of the agricultural industry depend largely on the state of affairs in the agricultural machinery industry. This, of course, has an impact on the social sector,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The government submitted to the president the proposal to start the production of new models of tractors at Amkodor as part of the project to set up a holding company for the production of agricultural machinery. “These issues have been raised more than once. You know my position. The views of the stakeholders differ, unfortunately. The government insists on implementing the project. The absence of common approaches to the development of the tractor industry raises serious concerns,” said the head of state. “So the question arises: If someone insists on something, let them explain and show that this is the path we should go,” he added.

Alexander Lukashenko underlined that it is now necessary to discuss all the existing proposals and take decisions that will help the Belarusian enterprises reach a higher level, design new and competitive types of agricultural machinery.

In this regard, the president asked about the government’s vision of the development strategy. He also inquired about the economic situation at Amkodor and MTZ, about the essence of the proposal to establish the holding company for the production of agricultural machines. “The main question is: should we or should not get involved in the designing of new types of tractors. If so, what basis we should use to develop them? On the basis of the available schools, or create a new one? Although Amkodor has certain elements of this experience,” he said.

The head of state added that the country does not need unhealthy competition on domestic and foreign markets and a cross-flow of personnel. “This is my answer,” he said.

“The fact that the government starts suggesting material production projects for Chinese loans is good. Material production yields profit and returns on investment. Otherwise, all the loans will be too burdersome for the budget. There are issues to deal with. We need to understand what should be done in the first place,” the president said.

According to Industry Minister Vitaly Vovk, the recent global financial crisis affected the Belarusian tractor industry. The production volume and sales of tractors were on a decline. In 2012 Belarus made 64,000 tractors. Over the last two years the production has not exceeded 30,000 tractors. The minister added that Belarus, however, did not lose its position on the markets.

“This year MTZ has been increasing its sales thanks to the recovering foreign markets. The export in H1 2017 went up by 28%, including by 24% to the CIS, 8% to the non-CIS states, and 47% to the Russian Federation,” the minister said.

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