Joint Business Council and new contracts of Belarusian and Russian companies

№ 3, 2021



The Business Cooperation Council meeting was a major event on the second day of the 8th Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia. This year's edition of the forum kicked off on June 29 and was running through July 1. Its main events were held online. The participants discussed science and technology cooperation between Belarus and Russia in the digitalization era and the development of the common scientific and technological space in the Union State.

Since 2018, the Business Cooperation Council meetings, organized by the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and ­Industry and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of ­Belarus and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, has become a good tradition and an important component of the Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia. Such meetings provide business representatives with the opportunity to discuss topical cooperation issues, agree on the main avenues of further economic relations. The contracts and agreements that are signed at the ­meetings contribute to bilateral trade, strengthen partnerships between the regions and organizations of the two countries.

This year, the meeting, like other major events of the ­Forum of Regions, was held online. On the Belarusian side, the event was hosted by the BelCCI, on the Russian side – by the CCI of Russia.

Participating in the meeting were the BelCCI Chairman Vladimir Ulakhovich, the President of the Chamber of ­Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation ­Sergey Katyrin, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the ­Republic of Belarus on Economy, Budget and Finance ­Tatiana Runets, Deputy Chairman of the Federation ­Council ­Committee on Economic Policy of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Ivan Abramov, heads of regional chambers of commerce and industry of Belarus and Russia, more than 120 business representatives from both countries.


The topic of the meeting was "Union State economy. The lessons of the pandemic and integration development prospects". The meeting participants talked over the current state and prospects for further deepening cooperation at the regional level, the inter-chamber interaction develop­ment, the impact of the pandemic on bilateral cooperation, successful joint projects, the issues related to equal access of Russian and Belarusian entities to the markets of the two countries, as well as other systemic issues arising in mutual trade and while exporting products to third countries.

As Tatiana Runets, Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus on Economy, Budget and Finance, noted, the ­meeting of the Business Cooperation Council has proved effective for discussing topical issues of bilateral cooperation, primarily in trade, economic, industrial, and investment spheres.

"During the post-COVID recovery, both the state and the business community are solving comprehensive problems to ensure sustainable growth, effectively and consistently develop their competitive advantages, and strengthen their investment potential. In solving these problems, an important role belongs to the factor of integration, the established ties between businesspeople and regions of our countries," Tatiana Runets said.

The Chairman of the BelCCI stressed that even though the pandemic affected bilateral trade and economic interaction, businesses are interested in specific joint projects, working effectively against all the restrictions. In addition, there are ample opportunities for cooperation at the regional level. "The success of the integration of Belarus and Russia will depend on the scale of the implementation of joint projects between our countries, the deepening of cooperation between business entities. These are the areas that can become the basis for further cooperation within the Union State," Vladimir Ulakhovich noted.


In his address to the meeting participants, Sergey Katyrin, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, noted that currently the business community is forced to work in difficult conditions. Nevertheless, the recent statistics show that there is an increase in Belarus-­Russia trade in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous year. Undoubtedly, the head of the Russian CCI stressed, this is a good trend that must be maintained until the end of the year, and, if possible, improved.

"In this regard, the importance of stepping up joint work through the chambers of commerce and industry is obvious. We have achieved a lot – close ties of national chambers, good contacts between regional chambers, exhibitions and fairs, joint events and projects, etc.", Sergey Katyrin said.

As part of the meeting, an agreement was signed on the establishment of the Joint Belarusian-Russian Business ­Council, as well as more than USD 70 million worth co­operation agreements and contracts for the supply of ­products between Belarusian and Russian enterprises of the chemical and petrochemical industry, the construction sector.

The Agreement on the Joint Belarusian-Russian ­Business Council establishment was signed by the heads of the ­Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian ­Federation. The Joint Business Council is a new format of cooperation of chambers of commerce and business communities of the two countries, a coordinating and advisory body aimed to enhance the effectiveness of the business ties of Belarus and Russia.

The Council major tasks are the expansion of direct contacts between entrepreneurs, overcoming the barriers and restrictions in mutual trade, the full-scale dialogue with legislative and executive bodies on cooperation matters, the development of recommendations for business environment improvement, strengthening the role of the business community in the development and implementation of the state policy in the field of Belarus-Russia economic relations.

It is planned that the Council members will be leading enterprises from various fields of activity. The Council meetings will be held at least once a year, alternatively in Belarus in Russia (upon possibility).

As Vladimir Ulakhovich said, the Joint Business ­Council will, among other things, participate in the work of the ­ High-Level Group of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, representing the voice of business.


The 8th Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia was concluded by the plenary session with the participation of the President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr ­Lukashenko and the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir ­Putin. In total, there were more than 50 agreements and contracts signed at the Forum sidelines worth about 800 million dollars. It proves that the two countries are committed to working to ensure further growth of the Union State.

Upon the totals of last year, the trade between Belarus and Russia made more than USD 29.5 billion. During the four months of this year, mutual trade has increased by 31.9 percent compared to the level of 2020. Russia accounts for almost half of the total trade turnover of Belarus: last year, this figure was 47.9 percent. Belarus ranks 4th among the largest foreign trade partners of Russia. Russia also ranks first in terms of investments in the Belarusian economy. All this provide for the new joint projects to be implemented by the two countries.