Belarus Beckons

Introduction of Michael Rye

The presence of Honorary consuls from countries such as Republic of Belarus can be a useful asset for trade investment, culture, education and delegation exchanges.

Michael Rye with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei
Michael Rye with Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei
In early 2003 Michael Rye was approached by the then ambassador to the Court of St.James and asked if he would like to be considered for the post of honorary consul for Belarus in the UK…The appointment process took 18 months after which he was issued with his authority the Ambassador, the Republic of Belarus and the Foreign Office’s acknowledgement of his acceptability.

The role of a consul, is not a job but rather an honour recognized around the world under the international treaty known as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Whilst the role is varied I am a great believer in exchange of knowledge through trade and education and to this end I always look for sustainable opportunities of joint partnerships and more and more UK based companies are looking at the Republic of Belarus as it is now becoming one of the world’s major exporters of cargo vehicles, tractors, utility machinery and mineral fertilizers.

One of the Belarus business cards is the economic diplomacy. Products with the mark "Made in Belarus" are well known in 181 countries. Belarus is represented in all the world regions. Belarus is constantly participate in all the major multilateral economic forums. Due to its geographic position, the country acts as a transportation corridor on the way from West to the East and from the North to the South. - Belarus new guide to doing business in Belarus to assist companies in developing business in the country.

Chemicals and Petrochemicals in Belarus

The chemical and petrochemical sector is one of the most important in the Belarusian economy, accounting for over 12% of GDP. It is an invaluable source of foreign exchange with almost 20% of all exports coming from the sector.

Mosta Refinery
Mosta Refinery
It is heavily dominated by the state, with the vast majority of enterprises in government ownership.  However, in order to upgrade productivity and profitability, Belarus is very keen to attract foreign partners and investors.

Over 40% of the crude oil exported to the EU from Russia flows through Belarus and much of it is refined in the republic en route. Two of the major refineries, Mozyr and Naftan are scheduled for privatisation in the near future

As well as the petrochemical sector, Belarus has a highly profitable chemicals industry, mainly producing fertilisers (predominantly potash-based) and chemical fibres such as polyamide, polyester, acrylic and viscose.

Most of this production is overseen by Belneftekhim, a state-run conglomerate of 75 companies. As part of the privatisation programme, and to attract foreign investment, six of Belneftekhim’s biggest enterprises have been restructured into open joint-stock companies, including the tyre producer Belshina and Polimir, a chemical fibres manufacturer with a foreign trade turnover of US $400 million.

Semfa are developing unusual and structured approaches to the market opportunities to aid Belarus in reaching its modernisation and development objectives.

Agriculture in Belarus

Belarus Agriculture
Belarus Agriculture
Agriculture is very important to Belarus, accounting for 7.8% of the country’s GDP and providing a valuable source of foreign exchange via a healthy export market. Total production was worth US $11.2 billion in 2008, which was 33% more than in 2007, and at present 43% of the republic’s land is turned over to farming.

The country’s main agricultural products are potatoes (it is the world’s eighth biggest producer) and cereals – with arable farming accounting for 55% of output, and livestock (cows, pigs and fowl) making up 45%. Among other products produced are vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy products. Much of this is exported to neighbouring states, with Russia a major market.

Traditionally, the farms in Belarus were state-run collectives, but many of these have now been privatised and sold to foreign investors, greatly increasing their productivity. Several of the remaining state-owned farms are seeking foreign investment, including some enterprises with a turnover of US $50 million a year.

Manufacturing in Belarus

Manufacturing is the largest part of the economy of Belarus, as befits its heritage as the former engineering powerhouse of the Soviet Union. With a highly skilled workforce and modern manufacturing methods, the sector provides 28% of the country’s gross domestic product.

“Belarus has a rich industrial heritage resulting
in a high level of economic diversification.”
Standard & Poor

Belarus has traditionally excelled at heavy industry and is one of the world’s largest suppliers of mining and quarrying vehicles, while Minsk Tractor Works produces a tenth of the world’s tractors and MAZ exports buses, coaches and lorries around the globe. As well as heavy industry and plant manufacturing, Belarus has a strong capability in light manufacturing and engineering, including semiconductors, electrical goods, optics and textiles. The expertise of many of these companies has been recognised by overseas firms: Belomo, a specialist in lenses and optics, for example, has been operating a joint venture with Zeiss, a high-end German company, for more than a decade.

Belarus Wood Products Industry

Belarus Timer Industry
Belarus Timber Industry
Vitebsk Region
More than 40 per cent of the Belarusian territory is covered by forests. The wood stock in Belarus is approximately  1,5 billion m3. An annual accretion of wood is almost 30 million m3, while only about 15 million m3 are harvested annually.

Saw-timber, unprocessed timber, cooperage timber, plywood, chipboard, fibreboard, medium-density fibreboard, packaging timber, wooden products for construction, furniture, wood pellets, etc.
About 70 per cent of wood processing in Belarus is carried out by the enterprises-members of the Belarusian Industrial-and-Trading Concern of Forestry, Wood-Processing and Pulp-and-Paper Industry («Bellesbumprom»). The Concern unites 60 companies which together represent all cycles of wood-processing starting from harvesting of wood and up to producing and selling saw-timber, wood constructions, windows and doors, plywood, chipboard, fibreboard, medium-density fibreboard, furniture, cellulose, paper and other products.
A big number of private companies including joint ventures with foreign capital also operate in the wood processing industry. For example, currently, Kronospan invests around 150 mln. USD in the establishment of its production and logistics facilities in Belarus.
Specialised companies, “BellesExport” and “Bellesbumpromexport”, were created at national level to promote exports of Belarusian timber products abroad.


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