Trilateral format – for successful business projects

№ 2, 2021

On April 6–7, Dushanbe hosted large-scale business events with the participation of Belarusian business: Tajikistan – Belarus – Afghanistan Forum, made in Belarus exhibition, TajBelAgro agricultural forum. The events were held as part of the Tajikistan-Belarus Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation meeting.

Belarus-Tajikistan relations have been vibrant in recent years. Despite the geographical distance between the two countries, mutually beneficial cooperation has been steadily increasing. Mutual trade has grown five and a half times since 2016 to exceed USD 100 million in 2020. The potential for further develop­ment of bilateral cooperation is still hugely untapped, and the parties need to set new goals, develop large-scale cooperation in all economic ­areas, create conditions for balanced, mutually beneficial trade with ­ensuring an annually growing trend, as well as actively implement joint projects, primarily in agriculture and industrial cooperation.

There has been a positive development trend in trade of Belarus and ­Afghanistan, too, including through Tajikistan. To make an example, last year, the first batch of the Belarusian tractors assembled at the joint plant in Hissar was supplied to Afghan partners. There are still many ­potential spheres for the three states' busi­nesses to augment cooperation.

The year 2020 was difficult for economies and companies all over the globe. But as soon as the epidemiologic situation improved, Tajikistan has become one of the first states to host large-scale events with the in-person participation of Belarusian businesspeople.

Thus, on April 6–7, the Tajikistan – ­Belarus – Afghanistan business forum, Made in Belarus exhibition and ­TajBelAgro agricultural forum were held in Dushanbe as part of the work of the Tajikistan-Belarus ­Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and ­Economic Cooperation. The events were organized by the ­Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of ­Belarus and the Belinterexpo ­Exhibition ­Company of the BelCCI, together with their Tajik partners.

The first event within the program was Tajikistan – Belarus – Afghanistan business forum. The event was orga­nized by the BelCCI in association with the State Committee on Investment and State Property Management of the ­Republic of ­Tajikistan.

Belarusian Agriculture and Food ­Minister Ivan Krupko, Tajikistani ­Agriculture Minister Sulaymon Rizoi Ziyozoda, Chairman of the ­Belarusian Chamber of ­Commerce and ­Industry Vladimir Ulakhovich, ­Ambassador ­Extraordinary and ­Plenipotentiary of ­Belarus to ­Tajikistan Oleg Ivanov, ­Chairman of the State ­Committee on Investment and State Property ­Management of ­Tajikistan Sadi ­Qodirzoda, ­Deputy Chairman of the ­Chamber of ­Commerce and Industry of the ­Republic of ­Tajikistan Manzura ­Rustamova, Counselor for Economic Affairs of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tajikistan Javodi Shula, and over 200 representatives of Belarusian, ­Tajik and Afghan companies took part in the forum.

Prospects of expanding trade and economic cooperation of Belarus, ­Tajikistan and Afghanistan in mechanical engineering, agriculture, food production, tourism, pharmaceutics, and education were discussed during the forum. Topical aspects of business circles interaction were reviewed. Pre­sentations of the industrial, export and tourism potential of the three countries took place in addition to presentations of promising investment projects. ­Representatives of Belarusian enterprises and organizations held productive negotiations with businessmen from Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Participants of the forum noted that despite last year's pandemic, Belarus-­Tajikistan trade more than doubled, and positive dynamics was secured in cooperation with Afghanistan. The main purpose of ­doing business is to preserve and raise the current level of mutual trade. It was underlined that the ­Tajikistan – Belarus – Afghanistan business forum had earned a reputation as a convenient negotiation platform for finding new partners and as a foundation for joint projects, an effec­tive tool for promptly resolving business matters and accele­rating co­operation.

Made in Belarus exhibition was opened after the forum. It focused on agriculture, food, and tourism. The expo was organized by the BelCCI's Belinterexpo enterprise.

As many as 40 Belarusian companies took part in the expo, ­including agricultural machinery production flagships (Minsk Tractor Works, "Gomselmash", "Lidagroprommash", ­"Grodnooblselkhoztechnika"), food producers ("Krasny ­Pischevik", Brest Distillery ­"Belalco", Minsk Plant of ­Sparkling Wines, other ­Belgospischeprom concern enterprises, Confectionery Factory "Vitba"), dairy industry enterprises, such as Minsk Dairy Plant ­No.1, ­"Babushkina Krynka", Volkovysk OJSC ­"Bellakt", "Zdravushka-Milk", as well as ­Brestmyasomolprom Concern, Min­obl­myasoprom Holding, Orsha Meat Canning Plant. These companies brought their best product samples and novelties to the attention of Tajik partners.

Besides, the Grodno Breeding ­Enterprise presented its achievements in animal husbandry, and the Yagodka farm showed new varieties of seedlings adapted to the climatic conditions of Tajikistan.

The possibilities of recreational tourism and treatment in various regions of Belarus were presented at the exhibition by the National Agency for ­Tourism of the Ministry of Sports and Tourism of the ­Republic of Belarus.

The expo was visited by representatives of government agencies and business community of Tajikistan, who noted the high quality and originality of Belarusian products.

On April 7, a large-scale event for agribusiness enterprises – the TajBelAgro forum – took place. The forum was organized by the agriculture ministries of Belarus and Tajikistan, together with the Belinterexpo company.

The participants were greeted by ­Belarus' Agriculture and Food ­Minister Ivan Krupko and Minister of ­Agriculture of Tajikistan Sulaymon Ziyozoda. The ministers emphasized that such events help strengthen trade and economic ties between the two countries, appreciate the quality of products and discuss options for mutually beneficial cooperation. All this contributes not only to the conclusion of contracts on mutual supplies of agricultural products and machinery but also to the study of options for cooperation.

Representatives of agro-industrial and trade enterprises of the two countries got familiar with the export opportunities of Belarus and ways of development of Belarusian agriculture, the potential of Tajikistan's agriculture and the prospects for bilateral cooperation in crop and livestock production. The forum also addressed the issues of industrial cooperation in the production of agricultural machinery. The business community representatives were provided with information on the requirements of Tajikistan for certification of food products and procedures for customs clearance of exports, imports and transit through the country, received the necessary information on working with local trading networks.

The business events in Dushanbe provided a platform for signing agreements and contracts for the supply of Belarusian goods to Tajikistan and ­Afghanistan. Thus, eight documents on the development of partnerships in the spheres of industry, education, supplies of food products and beve­rages worth more than USD 11 million were signed at the premises of the trilateral forum. Contracts were signed by Made in Belarus exponents, too. The initiative of the ­Chambers of Commerce and Industry made a great contribution to the develop­ment of trade relations and partner network of domestic manufacturers, gave impetus to further constructive co­operation and bright ideas implementation.