The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council meeting.
Excerpts from the transcript:
Mikhail Mishustin: Mr Golovchenko, friends, we are delighted to see you all in Sochi. First, I would like to ask you to convey greetings and best wishes to President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on behalf of President of Russia Vladimir Putin, and of course on my personal behalf.
You and I remain in touch at all times. In March, we held a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, followed in April by the meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union chaired by Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko.
Russia and Belarus have taken very important decisions to step up their integration ties, and the governments launched system-wide efforts to carry out 28 Union State programmes. Of this total, 10 have been completed, and five IT systems were launched. Of the 989 initiatives stipulated by these programmes, we have fulfilled almost 80 percent, which is quite a solid performance. I would like to thank all your colleagues and you personally, Mr Golovchenko, as well as our colleagues from the Government of Russia for this professional work.
Despite the sanctions pressure exerted by the collective West, we have been proactive in expanding our trade and economic cooperation. Last year, mutual trade increased 12 percent to exceed 3 trillion Russian roubles, or 111 billion Belarusian roubles. There was a further 11 percent increase in trade in January-April to over 1 trillion Russian roubles, or almost 40 billion Belarusian roubles.
We have made industrial cooperation our priority. Mr Golovchenko, I know that you attach great importance to these matters, while Mr Lukashenko has been overseeing efforts to promote manufacturing in Belarus and the Union State. We approved 16 joint projects worth 80 billion Russian roubles or almost 3 billion Belarusian roubles as part of our intergovernmental agreement on industrial cooperation dealing with machine building, machine tool engineering and microelectronics.
In July, Belarus will take part as a partner country in the Innoprom International Industrial Trade Fair in Yekaterinburg. We are expecting a large business delegation with representatives from all Belarusian regions. Mr Golovchenko, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to the exhibition once again, and I also plan to take part in it. I am confident that Innoprom will become the venue to sign new commercial agreements to launch a number of important joint integration projects. We are meeting on the eve of the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council and CIS Council of Heads of Government. It is very important that Russia and Belarus support the deepening of integration in the Eurasian region. I am convinced that the decisions to be taken here in Sochi will enhance the sustainability of our economies in an unfavourable external environment and will help create new points of growth for the benefit of business and the people of our Union State. Mr Golovchenko, we have a busy programme; you have the floor.
Roman Golovchenko: Thank you.
Mr Mishustin and colleagues, I am truly grateful for your constant willingness to discuss our cooperation. Over the past two years, we have been working to implement the tasks set by our presidents to build a coherent system of integration cooperation and achieve deeper economic integration. Our efforts include many areas. You were correct in noting in your speech that the percentage of completed measures that we agreed on is quite high, and this work is continuing at an unrelenting pace, which is very important.
By and large, we can say that we have established a comprehensive bilateral regulatory framework, ensuring systematic cooperation in all areas, including not only the economy, but also foreign policy and defence. Joint programmes and projects are being implemented in industry, the military-industrial complex, nuclear energy, space exploration, and so on, which is especially important against the backdrop of the unprecedented external pressure. And the system we have created shows, I believe, successful results for the economies of the two countries.
Recently you attended the digital technology forum in Nizhny Novgorod. A representative Belarusian delegation was there as well, headed by the First Deputy Prime Minister. And we can see that our countries are now facing a lot of new challenges, including digital sovereignty, digital transformation, and ensuring the information security of our countries. But difficulties make us both stronger and smarter. And I am sure that our successes are guaranteed, because the friendship of our presidents and peoples lies at the heart of these relations.
You have already mentioned the tangible positive result in bilateral trade. These figures are not accidental; they are the result of the measures that were taken in order to achieve them.
We are focused on working closely to take the measures necessary to protect the markets in our Union State. I believe we will be able to integrate the new digital transformation trends in Russia, quickly resolving the issues that still remain, and we want to talk about them today: mutual recognition of the electronic digital signature, and the removal of other issues that will allow us to move faster along the path we have outlined.
You are absolutely right, Mr Mishustin, in noting that, along with lawmaking, we have begun implementing serious projects in the field of machine tool building, microelectronics, and aircraft manufacturing. Now all these programmes are under active development. As you know, we already have an intergovernmental contract on microelectronics, and it is being filled now. In the aircraft industry, we stepped up our activities after Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov visited Belarus, where we reached certain agreements.
As another positive moment, I will probably note the encouragement of our cooperation with the Russian regions. The agenda here is very busy and diverse. Just ahead of our meeting I met with Governor of the Krasnodar Territory Veniamin Kondratyev. I believe this is important because it’s visits like this that are at the core of establishing strong relations and new ties; new regional projects are outlined, and cultural and education ties are established and implemented. We can feel this agenda and attitude, and the focus of our leaders to deepen our cooperation at least in those regions where I have led delegations. This is fully in line with the federal agenda, as a matter of fact. Just recently I saw this during a visit to the Murmansk Region and the Republic of Karelia.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you, Mr Mishustin, for your positive energy that encourages work in all areas of bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Union State.