2 Nov 2023 14:09

Belarus, Russia complete 83% of union programs for economic integration - Union State secretary

MINSK. Nov 2 (Interfax) - Belarus and Russia have carried out 825 of 993 measures in 28 programs for economic integration approved by the two countries' presidents in November 2021, Union State Secretary General Dmitry Mezentsev said.

"The programs are now 83% completed. Out of 993 measures, 825 have been carried out," Mezentsev said in an interview with Belarusian state publication Respublika.

He recalled that the 28 programs are aimed at harmonizing and unifying legislation, reducing trade barriers, establishing common markets and levelling the playing field for businesses in the two countries.

"The goal is to make it easier for Russian and Belarusian manufacturers to access markets for goods and services in the Union State," Mezentsev said.

He said institutional development is part of the implementation of the programs. For example, the countries have launched an integrated system for administering indirect taxes; signed an agreement on general principles of taxation for indirect taxes; and signed an intergovernmental agreement on mutual recognition of bank guarantees for government procurements.

"Work on the establishment of a supranational tax committee is in the final stage. In the area of customs, an international center has been created that now jointly assesses customs risks. All this is aimed at having our economies function as one whole," Mezentsev said.

He also said work is continuing on carrying out import substitution projects under a union program to establish a common industrial policy that is being implemented by Russia's Industry and Trade Ministry and Belarus's Industry Ministry. A list of "critical" products that need to be replaced has been compiled and industrial projects are being carried out in selected sectors, he said, adding that 17 datasheets for import substitution projects have been drawn up and approved.

Projects include the comprehensive modernization of farm machinery maker Gomselmash, with expansion of production of axles, transmissions, components and assemblies for combines. There are also plans for investment projects at the Minsk Bearing Plant, Minsk Gear Works, Vitebsk plant Vistan and truck maker BelAZ.

"Joint projects in the areas of farm machinery, logging equipment, foundry operations, large eye bearing and large bearing rollers, and others are being proposed for implementation in Belarus taking into account the needs of Russian businesses. The projects involve Belarusian and Russian manufacturing giants such as the Minsk Tractor Works, Kamaz , UAM, Gomselmash, Bryanskselmash, Amkodor and others," Mezentsev said.