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Mutual interests behind Gomel Oblast cooperation with Russian regions

GOMEL, 20 December (BelTA) – Cooperation of Gomel Oblast with regions of Russia relies on priorities of the state foreign policy and mutually beneficial interests. Gomel Oblast Governor Gennady Solovei drew attention to the fact during the session of the working group on advancing cooperation between Belarus and Russia's Kirov Oblast in the Russian region on 20 December, BelTA has learned.
The governor noted that the purpose of the meeting is to take trade, economic, scientific, technical, cultural, and social ties between the two regions to new heights. “Vigorous cooperation with regions of Russia is one of the aspects of stable development of Gomel Oblast. This cooperation relies on priorities of the foreign policy of the state and mutually beneficial interests,” Gennady Solovei said.
In his words, today Russia accounts for over 60% of foreign trade operations. In the last two years Gomel Oblast's trade with Russian regions exceeded $10 billion while trade with Kirov Oblast amounted to only $9.5 million.
Only 15 out of nearly 300 enterprises in Gomel Oblast export their products to Kirov Oblast. The number includes the agricultural machines manufacturer Gomselmash. Three enterprises located in the free economic zone Gomel-Raton are busy exploring the market of the Russian region. Over the course of 17 years of trade relations Mozyrsalt Company exported 25,000 tonnes of salt worth over RUB100 million to Kirov Oblast. The confectionery manufacturer Spartak has shipped 160 tonnes of products to the Russian region since the beginning of the year.
Gennady Solovei is convinced: “These are poor results considering the available industrial, scientific, and resource potential. It seems more like a beginning to me.” The governor mentioned key positions, which are expected to have a positive effect on cooperation development. The number included agribusiness, civil engineering, road repairs, and forestry industry. “Let me draw a parallel: Gomel Oblast in Belarus just like Kirov Oblast in Russia is largely covered by forests – 48% and 63% respectively. This is why the Forest Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus is ready to offer its services such as disease diagnosing, prevention of diseases, and protection of forests and agricultural crops from diseases and pests using modern molecular genetics and biotechnology methods,” the governor said.
The advancement of cooperation between universities is another important direction, Gennady Solovei said.
The governor went on saying: “There is no doubt that the persistent development of economic ties is of utmost priority. But our nations are connected by blood and spiritual affinity. We are united by mutual respect, mutual enrichment of cultures, a dialogue of generations and religions, principles of social justice. The feeling of personal historical responsibility, the memory of the heart and the soul about the Great Patriotic War represent a powerful uniting core.”
Prime Minister of the Kirov Oblast government Aleksandr Churin noted that the Russian region is interested in the Belarusian experience of urban beautification and road repairs. “We would like to make Kirov as accomplished as Gomel is,” he said.
The session of the working group on advancing cooperation between Belarus and Russia's Kirov Oblast is scheduled to take place in the Russian region on 19-20 December. The Gomel Oblast administration has been entrusted with the responsibility of advancing Belarus' cooperation with Kirov Oblast. Participants of the session are discussing prospects of advancing trade, economic, and humanitarian relations, problems in mutual trade in mechanical engineering and agricultural products and ways to resolve them. Meetings are held in two chambers of commerce and industry (the Vyatka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Gomel branch of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry). B2B negotiations have been arranged, during which representatives of Belarusian and Russian companies talk about their interests. Roundtable sessions have been arranged to discuss cooperation between universities. Contact points in tourism industry are being determined. The sides intend to sign a number of documents on tighter cooperation. Apart from that, the Belarusian delegation is expected to get familiar with the cutting-edge experience of industrial and agricultural enterprises in Kirov Oblast.
During the meeting the heads of the regions signed a protocol that will guide the development of relations in the future.