At today’s meeting with the Chairman of State Corporation “Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank)” Sergey Gorkov, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko pledged his full support for Vnesheconombank’s operations in Belarus.
“On my own behalf and on behalf of the Government and, primarily, the National Bank I give you official endorsement but only in case you deal with us, our businesses, individuals and entities in the same way you do it in Russia. You must treat Belarus as Russia”, said the President.
Furthermore, the President thanked VEB for the support the Bank has never failed to lend Belarus in the hardest of times. “You have never stopped your cooperation with Belarus”, continued Mr Lukashenko. “You give our major enterprises hundreds of millions of dollars in loans. I do appreciate your sticking to the commitment even in lean years. This proves that you have every intention of doing serious business in Belarus”.
Alexander Lukashenko has also observed that the economic situation in Belarus considerably depends on that in Russia.
Speaking about the Belarusian banking system, the President noted that it might differ from that in Russia but only on the face of it. “I have delegated all the responsibilities for the entire banking system (not just its first and second levels) and powers to the Chairman of the National Bank’s Board – not least because we have a control system in place. All personnel decisions get approved by the National Bank and, through the National Bank, by the President. I would never have any unfair treatment of any bank”, stressed the President.
According to Mr Lukashenko, the banks are being evaluated in line with certain criteria. However, Belarus welcomes new banking institutions. “We have no barriers. We have refused to be confined to state and Belarusian banks only. If we sign an agreement with a bank and it is in our interests, such bank would enjoy the same support as a Belarusian one, whether it is state or private”, declared the President.
“Consequently, if any bank, in particular VEB, meets such criteria it is always welcome in Belarus. Furthermore, I guarantee my personal protection if such is ever needed. However, you would need none because we have no raids or bullying. It would be very dangerous”, emphasized the Belarusian leader. “You may be absolutely sure that your business in Belarus is safe whatever our relations with Russia are (Heaven forbid!)”.
“Word of honor: if we strike a deal, we keep it. Otherwise, we cannot expect any investment or capital flowing in”, assured Mr Lukashenko.
“First and foremost, the procedure must be followed and the agreements adhered to. Relations should be based on fair and binding agreements. And this I can guarantee you’, said Alexander Lukashenko.
“I think you would agree that however friendly our relations with Russia are, it is a foreign state. We have had many Russian big companies operating in Belarus and they have always been protected even from the events in their own country. Those who chose not to listen to me (Uralkaliy, by way of illustration), went bust, with new people being now in charge of such companies. But the ones who were wise to take advice enjoyed our full support and protection. And we are not to be swayed in our commitment, neither by the US government, nor by the Russian one. Agreements are ironclad and must be honoured”, concluded the President.
“We have been cooperating for some nine years already. Joint investments are over a billion. We have such large-scale projects as the nuclear power plant, and we have interesting ideas on how to boost Belarus and Russia’s joint exports. We have agreed with the government to conclude an agreement on this matter today. There are many opportunities for strengthening our cooperation,” Sergei Gorkov said.
He also thanked the Belarusian side for the support provided to the bank. “We always manage to find common ground,” the VEB Chairman stressed.
The parties discussed the plans to establish an integration development platform that will promote stronger mutual trade between Belarus and Russia. Mutual interest was voiced to expand cooperation in a number of promising areas such as investment cooperation, advancement of exports to third countries and support of joint innovative projects.
It was also noted that a high-quality level of cooperation between Belarusian partners and Vnesheconombank is a vivid example of real integration. This experience can be used in building up efficient and mutually beneficial cooperation in other areas.
Vnesheconombank and PAO KAMAZ signed a memorandum of cooperation in implementing the export strategy (Naberezhnye Chelny, the Republic of Tatarstan).
The document was signed by VEB's Chairman Sergey Gorkov for Vnesheconombank and KAMAZ's CEO Sergey Kogogin for PAO KAMAZ. The ceremony was attended by President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov.
The parties intend to develop cooperation in projects aimed to bring Russian cars to foreign markets and procure comprehensive support for the implementation of KAMAZ's export strategy.
In particular, Vnesheconombank and KAMAZ agreed to promote the company's products to foreign markets, primarily CIS countries, South-East Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The parties believe that the memorandum will help to secure and expand KAMAZ's supplies in foreign markets. Vnesheconombank will provide comprehensive solutions in project finance.
During his visit to the Republic of Tatarstan, Sergey Gorkov discussed development prospects with the management of the company. In 2015 and 2016, Vnesheconombank's Supervisory Board approved the RUB 20 bn acquisition of KAMAZ's bonds by the Bank (as the state trust management company for pension savings). The funds were directed towards the modernisation of the existing facilities to launch production of a new generation of cars (K5).
In the Republic of Tatarstan, Vnesheconombank participated in the implementation of 6 investment projects for a total of RUB 297 bn. The Bank has provided over RUB 172.7 bn to finance them. At the moment, Vnesheconombank is considering three projects for a total of RUB 115.8 bn.