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Belarus hopes to implement new big projects with China's CITIC Group Corporation

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus hopes to implement new high-profile projects with the participation of China's CITIC Group Corporation, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with CITIC Group President Wang Jiong on 20 July, BelTA has learned.

“In the near future, probably, in September I will hold top-level negotiations with my counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing. We have a broad agenda, need to coordinate and solve many issues. I must admit that we strongly hope that by this time our ministries and agencies, enterprises and holding companies will not only find topics for negotiations with your company, but will also prepare draft documents for implementing serious projects in the two countries, firs of all, in Belarus,” the Belarusian President said.

The head of state remarked that Belarus has already done a lot with the participation of CITIC Group Corporation. “Your company is one of the biggest in the world, and I am very glad that we cooperate with this company. You are aware of the strategic character of relations between the People's Republic of China and Belarus. And the work of your company in Belarus is entwined in the fabric of these relations,” the President said.

In spite of the protocol nature of the meeting, Alexander Lukashenko suggested discussing a number of concrete projects, issues, and problems which, perhaps, exist between the two sides in the implementation of joint projects. “I think that we need to do it today to avoid problems and doublespeak in the future. If there are problems, we are ready to solve them very quickly,” the Belarusian leader assured.

Wang Jiong, in turn, noted that all the efforts to implement projects in Belarus, including in the manufacture of cement and cars, modernization of Orsha Linen Mill, have been a success. “Upon the arrival to Belarus, I visited the construction site of the automobile plant BelGee and listened to the reports of the participants of the project,” he said. “We guarantee that we will do all the works and commission the facility by the end of the year. By the end of June 2017 we will also complete the project to upgrade Orsha Linen Mill.”

Wang Jiong told reporters after the talks that the meetings with the President and in the Belarusian government focused on current projects and the prospects of cooperation. “We have signed documents on cooperation in the manufacture of special machines, formation of a joint investment fund, agricultural production. New business promotion opportunities emerge in the course of time,” the president of CITIC Group Corporation remarked.

In his words, a joint investment fund will open up new opportunities for the implementation of projects in the manufacturing sector, including in the deep processing of farm produce.

Wang Jiong noted that experts are currently elaborating new projects. “CITIC Group is a large global multifunctional investment company, and we see very good opportunities for business in Belarus. We also see your advantages in state support, highly-qualified personnel, cost of production, and other areas,” the head of the Chinese corporation said.

Spokesperson for Belarus President Natalia Eismont unveiled the details of the meeting. “Such partners (as CITIC Group Corporation. – BelTA's note), according to the President, create the economy, the foundation of bilateral relations, help us make progress and enhance all-round strategic partnership,” she told reporters.

Alexander Lukashenko said that Chinese partners should treat Belarusian people and Belarus as a very close nation and state in spite of the big distance between the two countries.

The Belarusian head of state also stressed that any joint project and product should have a high added value, minimal expenses and should rely on advanced technologies. Besides, partners should see and penetrate potential sales markers. Another emphasis was on the prompt realization of plans. “We have an open economy, and the promotion of our products on global markets should be a priority from the beginning. We need hi-tech production and products which will be sold all over the world,” the spokesperson said.

CITIC Group also sees good prospects for the development of cooperation with Belarus. The company has voiced an intention to provide assistance in expanding partnership not only in a specific line of business. It will also help attract leading Chinese corporations to Belarus. Belarus is viewed as a springboard for further development of business in Europe. It was also noted that plans have been made to convene a big group of experts and specialists to promptly evaluate the existing potential and determine a general line of further cooperation with Belarus upon the arrival of the delegation to China.

BelTA reported earlier that a memorandum of cooperation concerning the establishment of a joint investment fund of Belarus and China has been signed the day before. Besides, OAO Amkodor took part in the signing of memorandums of cooperation in agricultural machine-building and the formation of a joint agricultural holding company. A memorandum of cooperation was also signed between ZAO Absolutbank and CITIC Construction Co., Ltd.

It is expected that a factory to produce telescopic and scoop loaders, energy-packed tractors will be opened in Kolodishchi. A joint tractor plant with the annual capacity of 50,000 vehicles will be set up in Novopolotsk.

CITIC Group Corporation includes more than 40 affiliated companies and banking organizations that are registered and work both in China and abroad (in the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries). The company specializes in financial activities, real estate and construction, production of mineral resources, information technologies, manufacturing, trade and provision of services.

Starting from 2009, for seven years in a row, CITIC Group has been included in the list of 500 biggest companies in the world. It was ranked 186th in 2015. The company is currently implementing projects to the tune of $40 billion in China and abroad. The total cost of implemented projects is more than $15 billion.

A project on the turn-key construction of three cement plants has been implemented in Belarus. The projects to build the car factory BelGee and to modernize Orsha Linen Mill are underway. In May 2016, the company has launched the construction of a multi-purpose facility in Pobediteley Avenue in Minsk using its own funds.