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Italian FDI in Belarus totals $150m in 2011

MINSK, 24 February (BelTA) – In 2011 Italy brought $150 million of net foreign direct investment in Belarus, up tenfold over 2010, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Italy Yevgeny Shestakov told media in Minsk on 24 February.

On the whole, Italian investors put nearly $200 million in the Belarusian economy last year. Then the country registered record high trade turnover with Italy of nearly $1.5 billion. The export grew 2.8 times, the import increased by 25%. “Our trade and economic cooperation will continue gaining momentum. In the near future we are expected to hold a meeting of the bilateral commission on trade and economic cooperation,” Yevgeny Shestakov said. Another big event, Brest Investment Forum, will take place in April 2012. The program of the forum will include an Italian Day dedicated to the development of the Italian industrial region. “We hope that attending the event will be Italian businessmen and institutional organizations,” the diplomat said.

Analyzing cooperation with Italian investors, the official noted that the Italian economy is represented mostly by small and medium-sized business (90-95% of the total). Therefore, bilateral cooperation is based on small economic projects worth of €3-10 million. At the same time there are several large projects from €30 million to several billions. Among them is a project on Minsk transport infrastructure, i.e. the construction of a hoist ring and rail network development. An international consortium of private investors will be headed by Italian and Belarusian consulting companies. “Initial investment in the project will be up to €4 billion,” the Ambassador noted. BMZ is implementing a number of big projects in cooperation with the Italian company Daniele.

Brest Oblast jointly with Belenergo and one of Italian energy companies is constructing a modern gas-fired plant. The cost of the project is estimated at €300-400 million.

Belarus also considers one Italian company as an investor in the production of high quality ceramic glass.

Thus, the Belarusian embassy is supervising 4-5 main investment projects with the participation of Italian investors. “They might influence the investment climate in Belarus and Italy, and the European Union in general,” Yevgeny Shestakov said.