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Arkhangelsk Oblast governor calls Belarus supercomfortable partner


Belarus is a very promising and comfortable partner for Arkhangelsk Oblast. There are many avenues of bilateral cooperation the Russian region is interested in, Arkhangelsk Oblast Governor Igor Orlov told the Belarus 1 TV channel, BelTA has learned.

The delegation of the Russian region spent several days in Belarus. A cooperation promotion plan for 2020-2022 was signed during the visit. “It is my second visit to Belarus. During the first visit we signed an agreement on cooperation and joint projects. Our efforts have translated into a working protocol and the action plan,” Igor Orlov said. He noted that he is absolutely satisfied with the outcomes of the visit. He added that Belarus is fully aware of the importance of this northern region of Russia that is rich in natural resources. “We need partners in our efforts to advance to the Arctic, to the Russian north. Thus, we would like to team up with Belarus as this country has a wealth of experience in this field,” the Russian governor said.

Igor Orlov believes that the success of cooperation depends much more on mutual understanding and sincere interest of parties rather than on external factors. “Belarus is a supercomfortable partner for us. We have much in common. Most importantly, we speak the same language. We even think virtually the same way,” the Russian governor said.

The areas of mutual interest were set out and formalized in the document that was signed during the visit. For example, Arkhangelsk Oblast would like to invite Belarusian construction workers to build new homes in the region's big cities in order to relocate locals from dilapidated housing to new homes. “We have 450,000 square meters of dilapidated housing. This is a tremendous challenge. We would like to get good offers, including from our Belarusian partners. We believe we could build at least three Belarusian neighborhoods in three big cities that are running large-scale relocation programs. These are Arkhangelsk, Severodvinsk and Kotlas,” Igor Orlov said.

As far as transport and mechanical engineering are concerned, the parties have already established good groundwork in these fields, but they need to consider new financial instruments to implement related projects. Leasing is a good option, however leasing schemes should be streamlined taking into consideration external factors. “We want to purchase at least another 50 buses, more than 30 special-purpose vehicles – tractors, trucks, BelAZ dump trucks (the most powerful of them will be 130t trucks) and other types of machinery that we need,” the governor noted.

Top on the agenda was establishment and expansion of a commodity distribution network for Belarusian products in Arkhangelsk Oblast. This can be a trading house, an office or another institution that will be the linchpin of efforts to boost trade. “If our retail outlets had what you have in your stores, I would buy it. I am confident that all residents of Arkhangelsk Oblast would be happy to buy high-quality and familiar products of Belarusian companies, first of all, foodstuffs, however the cooperation spectrum could be broader. By the way, we also buy Belarusian bathroom accessories for our homes. Belarusian furniture and textiles are also available in our region,” Igor Orlov said.

By the way, the trade between Belarus and the Russian region neared $46 million in 2019. According to Igor Orlov, there are no specific plans to increase trade, it is more important to meet the needs of buyers and sellers, to expand the product portfolio and establish direct supply chains.

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