BELARUS SIGNS AGREEMENTS IN FRANKFURT AM MAIN TO IMPLEMENT $2.8BN WORTH OF PROJECTS
Twenty-five agreements were signed at the Belarus Investment Forum in Frankfurt am Main on 17 November 2010. The agreements are supposed to attract money into the Belarusian economy and implement $2.8 billion worth of projects.
In particular, eight interbank agreements have been signed to attract over €300 million in loans and 17 agreements have been signed to realize production sector investment projects worth over $2.3 billion.
The Belarusian delegation was led by Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky. Heads of leading Belarusian companies and enterprises took part in the forum. The key partners in organizing the event were Germany’s most influential business structures – the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations and the German Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The forum was supposed to inform foreign business circles about Belarus’ investment opportunities, to find concrete foreign partners to attract foreign investments and high technologies, to sign long-term mutually beneficial business contacts. The number of participants exceeded 700 people. They represented major industrial groups, transnational corporations, banks, investment and consulting institutions of 36 countries. Those are Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, the UK, Iran, Iceland, Italy, Canada, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, Hungary, the USA, Moldavia, Czechia, China, Israel, and Cyprus.
Plenary sessions and panel sessions were held. On the forum day and the next day the Prime Minister of Belarus met with representatives of foreign companies, banks and government agencies of Germany.
The report by Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky highlighted Belarus’ social and economic situation, the investment climate, the reforms that the Belarusian government has carried out to liberalize business operation terms. The report focused on Belarus’ advantages in making investments in banking and finance, transit potential, production sector as well as innovative, energy-effective and ecological projects.
Vice Premier of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov unveiled advantages of making investments in Belarus as part of the Customs Union. Economy Minister Nikolai Snopkov explained investor operation terms and informed about the evaluation of these terms by foreign investors and international organizations.
Representatives of Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Rotshild & Cie, Deutsche Borse, Danieli & Officine Meccaniche, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation made their speeches at plenary sessions. Their speeches pointed out considerable positive changes in Belarus’ business operation terms, recent improvements of the investment climate. Foreign experts pointed out the country’s considerable investment potential, taking into account the operation of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia among other things. The experts stated that reforms must go on.
Over 40 investment projects worth over $6.5 billion in various branches of the Belarusian economy were presented at the forum. Potential investors could get presentation materials that included over 100 investment proposals worth $7.5 billion. Belarusian investment projects invoked much interest, with bilateral negotiations held.
On 17 November Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky met with top executives of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, Chairman of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations Klaus Mangold. On 18 November Sergei Sidorsky met with Prime Minister of the German federal state of Rheinland-Pfalz Kurt Beck and top executives of the chemical concern BASF.
Topical matters relating to the economic status of Belarus and Germany were discussed with the representatives of the German banks as well as dynamics of the bilateral relations in credit in investments. Tentative goals of the future partnership were determined.
Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky and top executives of the chemical concern BASF discussed the expansion of Belarus’ chemical industry’s output capacity through the use of BASF technologies. An agreement was reached to consider the possibility of starting up an enterprise in Belarus to make new chemical and petrochemical products. An agreement was reached for experts to determine concrete areas of the bilateral cooperation, including the establishment of joint ventures through combining innovative (licensed) products of Belarusian companies and BASF, through supplying the output to the Customs Union via Belarus. An interagency workgroup has been set up in Belarus to work on cooperation with BASF.
Negotiations with Prime Minister of the German federal state of Rheinland-Pfalz Kurt Beck focused on ways to step up cooperation with the economically developed region of Germany. The talks determined ways to develop cooperation, including the development of a joint program to foster small business, establishment of cooperation with Rheinland-Pfalz pharmaceutical companies, invitation of German alternative energy companies to realize projects in Belarus, intensification of cooperation between the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Rheinland-Pfalz in science and technology, including joint projects in the areas of alternative power engineering, pharmaceuticals, medicine, establishment of direct contacts, exchange of business delegations using capabilities of the Center for Business Cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe taking into account the opening of Minsk’s representation in January 2011, recreation of Belarusian children in Germany. In the near future there are plans to send invitations for the Minister of Economy, Transport, Agriculture and Viniculture of Rheinland-Pfalz, the Academy of Sciences and Literature of Rheinland-Pfalz to visit Belarus.
Sergei Sidorsky met with top managers of Discovery Potash Ltd (Luxemburg), Danieli & Officine Meccaniche S.P.A. (Italy), EPIC Financial Consulting GmbH (Austria), Merhav M.N.F. Ltd. (Israel), Altam Capital (USA/Israel).
Andrei Kobyakov and top executives of the transport and logistics concern Fraport AG discussed promising cooperation avenues, first of all, the use of technologies of the concern to upgrade the transport and logistics industry of Belarus and the drafting of a development concept of the National Airport Minsk. The parties reached an agreement to consider cooperation between major German and Belarusian logistic companies, launching passenger and cargo air service between the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport and the National Airport Minsk, arranging a logistics chain of the Marco Polo project (Shanghai – Minsk) via the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport.
Meetings were also held with top managers of John Deere (USA-Switzerland), Claas (Germany), Dyckerhoff (Germany) and the Polish Sugar Company.
The forum is of great significance for the promotion of Belarus’ investment potential on the global market, formation of its image as a reliable business and investment partner. It revealed a great interest of the international business in the expansion of cooperation with our country, first and foremost, in strategic areas, like power engineering, petrochemical industry, construction, agriculture and the establishment of exporting companies in Belarus. The forum enabled Belarusian and foreign companies to forge direct contacts, inform the international business community about Belarus’ investment opportunities. The agreements signed at the forum will raise more investments for the advancement of innovative and science-intensive industries of Belarus.