Vladimir Ulakhovich: "Azerbaijan and Belarus are countries with complementary economies"
Baku is holding the Azerbaijani-Belarusian business forum today. The chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vladimir Ulakhovich, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza on the sidelines of the forum, told about the prospects of developing business contacts between the two countries.
- First of all, how do you assess the level of economic relations between Belarus and Azerbaijan?
- Generally speaking, we have very good relations, but their great potential is far from exhausted. The fact is that Azerbaijan and Belarus are countries with a complementary economies. Nature has given Azerbaijan great wealth. Belarus does not have such wealth, but Belarus was able to maintain a very developed machine-building complex, a good agricultural sector and other areas. In this regard, Belarus can be not just a trade partner, but also a partner in joint cooperation, joint assembling, joint promotion of our products in third countries that are geographically close to Azerbaijan. I see a lot of potential in this. Also, the development of new technologies is promising. Belarus is currently engaged in such areas as nanotechnology, new materials, space materials, IT technologies, that is, a whole range of areas where Belarus once invested a lot to preserve the industry. And we can realize this potential together as well.
- In your estimation, what is helping to strengthen business contacts between Azerbaijan and Belarus today?
- Our greatest value is that we have a really deep historical understanding, the closeness of two peoples under the leadership of two strong leaders. Of course, we will be able to stay in this global market only when we help each other and act together. I am very glad that we have such a legacy that should be developed. Business should be developed, should be more mobile; our businessmen have a European Union by side, to which many are oriented, but this is a very complex market with protectionist tools, it is very difficult to supply products through barriers. In my opinion, it is necessary to change the mentality of the Belarusian business, direct it to the interested side, like Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani businessmen can also be attracted to Belarus as a profitable country, which is geographically close, has a good, stable base and ensures business transparency.
- In your opinion, how quickly will countries manage to reach a turnover of $2 billion a year?
- We must try. I think that in the coming years it is realistic to reach the turnout of $0.5 billion a year. The basis of growth lies precisely in industrial cooperation, not in common trade. First, a trade model is a thing of the past - the market has been globalized, and if one bets on simple trade, such business contacts will not have great prospects. But a joint production, development in the field of machine tool building, machine building, petrochemistry, on the contrary, is very promising. Belarusian petrochemical technologies operate in Egypt, Sudan, India. Not so long ago, the President of Belarus visited India, and within the framework of this trip, Belneftekhim signed two contracts with Indian partners in the field of oil technologies.
- What companies represent Belarus at the Baku forum today?
- We have companies here representing IT, construction, oil and building materials industries, as well as our traditional companies that represent the agrarian and engineering industries.