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Belarus, Vologda region intensify cooperation in machinery construction, metallurgy and timber industries

Cooperation of Belarus and the Volgoda region is being filled with concrete content. The two sides have intensified cooperation in machinery construction, metallurgy, timber and woodworking industries, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky said at a meeting with governor of the Vologda region Vyacheslav Pozgalev in Minsk on September 8. According to the Prime Minister of Belarus, the cooperation programme with Vologda region was adopted in the course of his visit to the Russian region two years ago.

“The bilateral trade has been growing. There are several interesting projects which we can implement together,” Sergei Sidorsky said. Among them he called the projects with Bobruiskagromash, OAO Severstal. The sides are now ready to adopt a new cooperation programme for 2008-2010.

“We are satisfied with the course of implementation of the cooperation agreement,” Vyacheslav Pozgalev said. The bilateral trade has quadrupled recently. He took note of the effective work of the trading house of the Minsk Tractor Works in Cherepovets which has sold over 2,000 Belarus tractors this year. The Vologda region is interested in establishing the production of tractor spare parts.

Linen production may become another promising avenue of cooperation. The Vologda region would like to preserve and revive the production of linen. So, the Russian region is interested in Belarusian experience of flax growing. In the near future the Vologda region intends to increase the flax cultivated areas up to 20,000 hectares. The region will purchase flax seeds in Belarus.

According to the Vologda Governor, “there are good proposals in timber processing”. For that the Russian region needs timber processing machinery produced by the Minsk Tractor Works and Amkodor.

Sergei Sidorsky and Vyacheslav Pozgalev agreed that at present there are good conditions for Belarus and the Vologda region to carry out these projects. Belarusian and Russian banks may grant loans for supplies of Belarusian timber processing machinery to the Vologda region.

In 2007, the trade between Belarus and the Vologda region reached $375.2 million, or 23.4% up as against 2006. Belarus had a $206mn deficit in trade with that region of the Russian Federation. In January-June 2008, the bilateral trade hit $228.8 million, or 28.9% up over the same period last year. The Belarusian exports made up $48.7 million (21.9% up), imports $180.1 million (30.9% up). Belarus’ main exports to the Vologda region were tractors, trucks, bulldozers and bearings. Belarus mainly imports ferrous metals, pipes, refined copper, bearings, tanks, trucks, wire and other goods from the Vologda region.

Russian company Severstal would like to construct a new steelworks in Belarus, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky told BelTA after his meeting with Governor of the Vologda region Viacheslav Pozgalev on September 8.

The Prime Minister noted that this issue was discussed at their meeting on September 8. The construction of the new steelworks in Belarus is estimated at more than $2 billion. At present, experts are considering this project.

In the nearest future Belarus will announce a tender for building a new steel mill, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky told BelTA after negotiations with Vologda Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Pozgalev on September 8.

Russian SeverStal is interested in participating in implementing this largest project in Belarus.

Sergei Sidorsky said, soon the government intends to forward a proposal for building a new steel mill for consideration of the President of Belarus. It will be a major independent company. A month ago SeverStal showed interest in accomplishing the project in Belarus, specified the Prime Minister.

Feasibility studies for the project are close to completion. Investments are expected to exceed $2 billion.

The matters were discussed during the meeting with the Vologda Oblast Governor. “We will announce a tender for building the steel mill soon,” said Sergei Sidorsky.

The head of government also spoke in positive terms about the growing market of metal products in Belarus. In this regard SeverStal will increase sales of its products in the country. “The Belarusian economy is on the rise, companies use a large amount of metal. In 2007 Belarus purchased $36 million worth of SeverStal products,” he said.

At the meeting in Minsk the sides discussed opportunities for expanding the cooperation with SeverStal via setting up so-called elongated warehouses in transport logistics, said the Prime Minister. There are plans to set up warehouses offering cutting services in Belarus. At present Belarus’ major machinery makers such as MAZ, BelAZ, MTZ, and Gomselmash directly buy metal from SeverStal. It is necessary to enable small and medium companies to buy these products at competitive prices.

“Today we discussed SeverStal’s proposal for setting up warehouses in Belarus, which will offer material cutting. It is expected to make metal products cheaper for Belarusian companies, increase the profitability of services and decrease production costs,” remarked Sergei Sidorsky.

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