Moscow and Minsk may return to integration projects, says envoy

Belarus and Russia can return to consideration of the issue of implementing integration projects with participation of the two countries’ enterprises, Russia’s Special Presidential Envoy for Trade and Economic Cooperation with Belarus, Ambassador to Minsk Mikhail Babich said in an interview with TASS.

“If we build an allied industrial complex, pursue an allied industrial policy, it is necessary to get right on discussions as to making sure that Belarusian enterprises stay relevant on the market and have most serious development prospects,” he said, adding that “the Russian side is ready for that.”

According to the diplomat, that is a challenging issue for Moscow due to several reasons. First, the situation has changed significantly over the past four years, since 2013-2014 when the issue was widely discussed, he said. “Back then the Russian market was fairly free, no one was developing production lines similar to Belarusian ones, though not a single project has been implemented. Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry together with the defense establishment have gone to considerable lengths over those four years,” Babich explained.

He noted that now, for example, Kamaz is developing in a completely different way, EuroChem and a number of other enterprises that were proposed for integration with Belarusian partners, “have found new economic and technological solutions for themselves.”

“However, that does not mean that we have missed something irretrievably. One should acknowledge and understand that the competence of Belarusian enterprises is very high and there is a market for their products. It is just that those markets should be correctly shared in terms of product line, price niches, supplies geography,” the ambassador added.