Belarus – St. Petersburg: a look into the future

№ 2, 2022

St. Petersburg is a strategic trade partner, which confidently occupies the fifth place among ­Russian regions in terms of trade with the Republic of Belarus. Russia's northern capital has always been linked with Belarus by strong cultural, humani­tarian, trade and economic ties.

Belarus' trade with St. Petersburg exceeds the country's trade with a number of European states. Traditionally, cooperation is developing in a wide range of fields – from mechanical engineering to the humanitarian sphere. There are good prospects for the supplies of Belarusian electric transport, other types of modern machinery, food products, the participation in construction and infrastructure projects, as well as for cooperation in the pharmaceuticals sector and science. The development of these and other fields is on the agenda of the Business Cooperation Council between Belarus and St. Petersburg, co-chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Roman Golovchenko on the Belarusian side.

At the end of March, the Belarusian Government Head, accompanied by a representative delegation of public officials and businessmen, paid a visit to the northern capital of Russia. Within the framework of this visit, the Russian-Belarusian business forum "Belarus – St. Petersburg: a look into the future" was held at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry on March 30. On the ­Belarusian side, the forum was organized by the BelCCI.


The event was attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus ­Roman Golovchenko, ­Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg Maxim Sokolov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Russia Vladimir Semashko, Minister of Industry of the Republic of Belarus Piotr Parkhomchik, President of the Union "St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry" Vladimir Katenev, Deputy Chairman of the ­Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Denis Meleshkin, more than 120 heads and representatives of Belarusian and Russian enterprises and organizations.

Addressing the forum participants, the Belarusian Prime Minister noted that business dialogue between ­Belarus and Russia is of particular importance in the context of sanctions. "In these conditions, we must reassess the path of our development, and, of course, we need to rely on our own strength, on our scientific and intellectual potential. This will be our best response," Roman Golovchenko said.

"Today, at the forum, companies from Belarus and St. Petersburg have the opportunity to network, to get familiar with the range of goods, works, services, and to conclude specific agreements and contracts. I want the Belarusian participants to engage in the most open and substantive dialogue with Russian colleagues. I recommend paying special attention to the ways of redirecting exports and intensifying production and technological cooperation," the Prime ­Minister concluded.

In his welcoming address, Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg Maxim Sokolov said, "We enjoy long-standing friendly and partnership relations. The current situation gives us an additional impetus to strengthen existing and create new areas of cooperation. We have established contacts in many fields and there is great potential for developing interaction not only in export and import but also in the development of industrial and technological cooperation. I want to urge the heads of enterprises to do this."

"In the new economic conditions, we need to further develop business ties, look for new forms and niches, including for replacing the sanctioned products. We are actively working with colleagues from the BelCCI, we have discussed further work on organizing visits to exhibition events, the exchange of business delegations, and we will work out those requests that have been received or will be received from our partners," Vladimir Katenev, President of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry underlined.

The BelCCI Deputy Chairman Denis Meleshkin emphasized the effectiveness of inter-chamber cooperation of Belarus and Russia, including at the regional level, introduced some joint projects to support businesses and promote cooperation ties, and presented the upcoming bilateral events.

"In the context of foreign political pressure on our countries and business, the forum is very important, because it unites us and focuses at new projects. The Belarusian side has much to offer for joint projects in various fields and sectors, including the replacement of sanctioned imports," Denis Meleshkin said. He also invited the northern capital business representatives to the Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia, to be held in Grodno on June 23–24.

The "Belarus – St. Petersburg: a look into the future" business forum addressed the diversification and prospects of trade between Belarus and Russia, the experience in implementing the projects of Belarusian businesses with the St. Petersburg partners in the fields of industrial cooperation, mechanical engineering, instrument engineering, construction, housing and communal services, information technology and digitalization, exchange services.

The plenary part of the forum was followed by B2B negotiations. Belarusian and Russian businessmen discussed possible cooperation in a wide range of areas, including industrial production and engineering, agriculture, petroleum chemistry, energy and electrical engineering, construction and infrastructure development, transport and logistics, information technology, light industry, woodworking, and other areas.

The forum resulted in business networking, as well as the strengthening of existing business ties between businessmen from Belarus and St. Petersburg. A number of specific documents on cooperation were also signed on the sidelines of the forum, including an agreement on cooperation between the Specialized Fund of Assistance to the Development of Russian-Belarusian Cooperation "Belye Rosy" and the Gomel Branch of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a memorandum of cooperation between the St. Petersburg Currency Exchange and the Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange. The documents regulating the setting up and the activities of the Union of Industrialists "Progres" were signed by the Belarusian companies MTW, Gomselmash and the St. Petersburg tractor manufacturer PTZ.