Neverending Union State building
Lukashenka and Putin held routine talks, discussing security, integration and import substitution. Meanwhile, Belarus and Russia signed an agreement on a common industrial policy.
On February 17th, Lukashenka held talks with his Russian counterpart at the latter’s residence in Novo-Ogaryovo. Lukashenka described the content of the discussions as follows :
- Last year, Minsk “100 per cent” fulfilled all defence and security agreements with the Russian Federation “and went even further.” Even more can be done with a bit of support from the Russian Federation. Belarus, Lukashenka believes, is ready to produce attack aircraft.
- The 28 union programs to deepen economic integration with Russia are about 80% complete (up from 70% at the beginning of January, according to Belarusian officials). Key issues regarding tax and customs duties have been resolved, leaving only “technical issues”. Programmes in the humanitarian sphere have yet to be implemented.
- Import substitution is advancing, despite the efforts of the “peace-loving” countries of the West. Lukashenka cited commodity exchange metrics indicating “Our turnover in goods and services last year [was an] unprecedented – USD 50 billion.” Russian IT companies placed orders of more than USD 300 million for Belarusian software products.
Based on such indicators, it can be argued that Belarusian-Russian integration and import substitution, are moving forward (at least on paper).
Last year, the parties signed an agreement on a common industrial policy, primarily for import substitution, and predominantly declarative in nature. The agreement states that the common industrial policy will be implemented by expanding support for projects in the Union State, reducing barriers, stimulating the development of new types of competitive products, and creating conditions for the use of progressive financial products.
The governor of the Ulyanovsk region, Aleksey Russkikh, invited Belarusian IT companies to the Elektronik technopark, which he believes will open up entirely new markets for them in Russia.
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Situation in Belarus