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PM: Import substitution is one of drivers of Belarus' economy

MINSK ( BelTA) – Import substitution is one of the drivers of the domestic economy; it is designed to help the country withstand the sanctions, Belarus' Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said at the meeting of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, BelTA has learned.

“Import substitution is a number one task, one of the drivers of the economy. It is designed, among other things, to help us hold out against the sanctions. Therefore, the issue that we will discuss today - progress on import substitution and ways to increase the efficiency of this work – is one of our country's near-term development priorities,” Roman Golovchenko said.

In December 2021, strategic areas of work were determined and specific tasks were set. They include making the most of Belarus' membership in integration organizations like the Belarus-Russia Union State and the EAEU, increasing the degree of localization combined with support measures, implementing import substitution programs in various industry sectors, expanding cooperation both within the country and with friendly nations, using local raw materials, actively introducing research outputs into the real sector of the economy.

“We already see the results of our work over the nine months. The output of import-substituting products is estimated at nearly $20 billion, or 77 % of the annual target. We had a foreign trade surplus in import-substituting goods. The share of import-substituting products in the country's industrial output has increased and now is estimated at 42.7 %. It is gratifying that small and medium-sized businesses have manufactured import-substituting products worth $2.2 billion,” the prime minister said.

In September 2022, an intergovernmental agreement was signed on the mutual recognition of technological operations carried out on the territory of the Union State. As the head of government noted, this creates the necessary conditions for the participation of Belarusian manufacturers in programs for subsidized purchases of engineering products. In November, an intergovernmental agreement was signed on the allocation of loans to Belarus to implement import substitution projects.

“Research organizations are now more actively involved in import substitution. A digital import substitution platform has been set up at the Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange,” added Roman Golovchenko.