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from 19.07.2016

Andrei Kobyakov held the session of the Council of Ministers Presidium

An effective system has been formed and is implemented in Belarus to protect the domestic market. Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov made the statement during the session of the Council of Ministers Presidium on 19 July. The session was held to discuss measures taken to substitute import and protect the domestic market.

Andrei Kobyakov noted: “First of all, I refer to measures designed to suppress trade in counterfeited light industry products. Marketplace traders are forbidden to sell merchandise without certificates and accompanying documents.”

Apart from that, strict control over the observance of technical regulations continues. Systemic audits are arranged. Importers are required to submit certain commodities for sanitary and hygienic expert evaluation. “The purpose of the work is to protect the legal right of consumers to buying quality products,” explained the Prime Minister.

Andrei Kobyakov reminded that a new antimonopoly body had been created — the Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade Ministry. “We expect the agency to produce certain results, including with regard to the protection of the domestic market,” he said.

The head of government underlined that high quality of Belarus-made products, a wide choice of merchandise, and competitive prices are the most effective instruments for securing one’s position on the market. He also mentioned wise product placement and advertising.

Also he stressed attention, that small and medium-sized businesses can meet the domestic demand for import-substituting goods that do not require complex manufacturing process. “I would like to emphasize that when speaking about import substitution I mean not only major enterprises. Often it is easier for small companies to replace imports of unsophisticated goods. Small companies are mobile and better feel the market. By involving small and medium-sized businesses we can satisfy the domestic demand for unsophisticated goods that do not require complex manufacturing process or the highest technologies,” Andrei Kobyakov noted. According to him, they are able to create a network for the promotion of domestic products in the light industry and other industries.

The head of government stressed that the aim is one for all, namely to satisfy consumer demand for quality products and increase the share of domestic goods in the home market. He noted that for the time being there are big questions to a number of managers of industries and enterprises. In Q1 we had the lowest share of sales of Belarusian goods since 2008 - 65.7%, which was down 3.2% as compared to the same period of last year, Andrei Kobyakov noted.

Andrei Kobyakov mentioned, that the share of import-substituting products in the Belarusian industry is close to 28%. “About $70 billion worth of import-substituting products was made in the last five years. The share of import-substituting products in the production sector has reached 27.9%. The import content has been reduced by 1.5 times.” – he noted.

In his words, import substitution work has been in progress for some time already. “It is something we’ve been busy with for many years. Since the national economy is an open one, we can utilize the available competitive advantages, satisfy the domestic demand, and export merchandise only by making quality import substitutes,” believes the Belarusian head of government.

Andrei Kobyakov said that import substitution efforts are focused on two areas. The first one is the manufacturing of products, which are already made in Belarus but in insufficient numbers. The production of virtually the entire range of primary agricultural machines has been started. A large number of previously imported construction materials — for instance, polished glass, gypsum plasterboard, mineral cotton — are now manufactured domestically. The same applies to popular automobiles, trucks, and passenger vehicles. The second area of import substitution efforts is the manufacturing of new kinds of products that Belarus needs but does not make. “Simultaneously we are working on new approaches to making products that we phased out in the past but that we need a lot today,” stated Andrei Kobyakov.

The Prime Minister reminded that presidential decree No. 78 of 23 February 2016 stipulates concrete requirements for manufacturing import-substituting products in 2016. The output of import-substituting products is supposed to increase by at least $600 million. Besides, it is necessary to get small and medium private enterprises actively involved in the effort.

In Q1 2016 Belarusian enterprises managed to secure as much as 20.6% of the annual target concerning the manufacturing of import-substituting products that are made in insufficient amounts. “If we look at the quarterly results, we will see some satisfactory headway towards the annual target. At the same time some ministries should do much more work to reach the expected trajectory. Those are primarily the Agriculture and Food Ministry, the Architecture and Construction Ministry, and the Bellesbumprom concern,” said the Prime Minister. As far as the second area of import-substituting efforts is concerned — the manufacturing of new kinds of products — Belarusian enterprises managed to secure 21.5% of the annual target in Q1 2016. “There is room for improvement over there, too,” summed up Andrei Kobyakov.​

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