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27 June 2014

Grodno Oblast, China’s Gansu Province to cooperate in agriculture, mechanical engineering

GRODNO, 27 June (BelTA) – Grodno Oblast of Belarus and China's Gansu Province have agreed to cooperate in agriculture and mechanical engineering. General avenues of the mutually beneficial cooperation were discussed at the meeting of the Gansu Province delegation and the Grodno Oblast administration on 26 June, BelTA has learned.

Ma Kun, Deputy Minister of the Commerce Department of Gansu Province, mentioned several priority avenues that look promising and viable for the Chinese side. In particular, the talks focused on setting up joint processing enterprises in dairy and meat industries, a joint venture to make agricultural machines and tractors, a Chinese enterprise to grow agricultural products in Grodno Oblast. Apart from that, the Chinese partners were interested in arranging direct trade channels. The possibility of implementing joint projects for potato production was discussed. The Chinese side was interested in Grodno potato harvesting machines and was ready to offer its own technologies and high-yield potato varieties.

The Gansu Province delegation included representatives of the Commerce Department and heads of major enterprises and corporations, in particular, those specializing in energy saving, wine growing, agricultural ecology, tractor manufacturing, and organic food. We would like the visit to produce concrete results, determine optimal forms of cooperation. In the future we could sign concrete contracts, said Ma Kun. For now the Chinese side is busy examining peculiarities of doing business in Belarus. The partners are interested in matters concerning the rent of land plots for industrial enterprises, safety guarantees for investments and property, preferential business terms and other things. Ma Kun invited the Grodno delegation to visit China. She said she hopes an exhibition of Grodno Oblast products in Lanzhou, the administrative capital of Gansu Province, in August 2014 will be a success.

In turn, Deputy Chairwoman of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee Yelena Agei outlined the oblast's industrial potential before the Chinese guests and also invited them to take part in the industrial products fair Euroregion Neman 2014 that will take place on 5-6 September. In her opinion, Grodno Oblast's cooperation with the People's Republic of China in processing milk and meat products is interesting. The sale of some agricultural enterprises and the joint production of tractors and agricultural machines are feasible. The Chinese delegation was invited to study the possibility of growing grape in the region using Chinese technologies.

On 26 June the Chinese delegation was expected to visit several Grodno enterprises including OAO Grodnoryba, OAO Grodno Distillery, and UDP Grodno Cannery. On 27-28 June the delegation will continue working in Lida District.

The People's Republic of China is Grodno Oblast's fifth largest trade partner in terms of trade turnover and the second largest trade partner in terms of export. In 2013 the trade turnover totaled $194.9 million, with Grodno Oblast's export at $125.2 million and import at $69.6 million. Nitrogen fertilizers, caprolactam and synthetic yarns account for 97% of Grodno Oblast's export to China. Direct contracts are used to import tobacco raw materials from China as well as chemicals, metal structures, crop protection agents, optic fibers and other products. In January-April 2014 the mutual trade turnover amounted to $53.1 million, with Grodno Oblast's export at $34.1 million and import at $19 million.

In January 2014 the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee and China's Gansu Province signed a memorandum on bolstering economic and trade cooperation.