A New Phase of Industrialization: Embracing Import Substitution
Belarus and Russia are actively engaged in import substitution projects. According to Belarusian authorities, they have approved a total of 19 investment import substitution projects. In the past week, the focus has been on the engineering industry. Moscow has once again decided to postpone Belarus’s payments for the state loan used to construct the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Meanwhile, Poland is seen as the primary security concern.
On September 24, Lukashenka congratulated the workers in the republic’s machine-building complex on their professional holiday. Belstat, the Belarusian statistical agency, has published a thematic review for Mechanical Engineer’s Day, highlighting the successes of the sphere. They claim that over 75% of Belarus’s mechanical engineering products are exported to more than 140 countries, although this figure may be subject to scrutiny. The report also indicates that salaries for industry workers have increased by almost a quarter over the past year.
Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko visited BelAZ and emphasized that Russia remains the company’s main customer, serving “all regions where the mining industry operates.” BelAZ, a manufacturer of mining dump trucks, also unveiled a prototype of a 130-ton truck powered by hydrogen fuel.
In Minsk, Belarus and Russia signed an agreement to develop the machine tool industry. This agreement includes a program of activities (road map) designed to enhance cooperation between the Belarusian Ministry of Industry and the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade in the field of machine tool manufacturing. The road map is presented as a continuation of previously signed documents on a common industrial policy and mutual recognition of technological operations. The Belarusian Ministry of Industry has promised to introduce machines next year that will consist of almost 100% locally produced components within the Union State.
Moscow has once again decided to extend Belarus’s payment deadline for the state loan used to construct the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Belarus can now settle the balance of the loan until the end of 2023, with payments beginning on April 1, 2024. According to the Rosatom State Corporation, Belarus has used approximately USD 5.36 billion from the Russian loan, including about USD 100 million in 2023. The full repayment of the loan is scheduled for 2038. This marks the second extension of the payment deadline for Belarus. By the end of the agreement, Russia aims to receive an additional USD 353 million from Belarus for its federal budget, bringing the final total of payments with interest to USD 6.7433 billion.
Russian press attaché Dmitri Peskov announced that Russia and Belarus are working on a joint security concept. In this context, Peskov specifically mentioned Poland as an aggressive state interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Lukashenka has also expressed concern about Poland, particularly its support from the United States. This topic was reportedly discussed during his recent negotiations with Putin in Sochi.
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Situation in Belarus