Belarus wants RI as its regional production hub
Belarus, an Eastern European country sandwiched between Russia and the European Union (EU), wants to make Indonesia a major destination for its exports and invest in the archipelagic nation’s manufacturing sector, Minsk’s top diplomat has said.
“We don’t want to remain as just an exporter to Indonesia. We would like to establish joint ventures with Indonesian companies with Belarus technologies and make Indonesia our regional production hub,” Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov told The Jakarta Post during his Jakarta visit last week.
“This is the first ever visit by a foreign minister of Belarus to Indonesia,” Martynov said referring to the invitation from Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.
Many people may ask what can tiny Belarus export to Indonesia, a member of the G20?
Belarus may be a land-locked country with little natural resources, but it has a resilient economy that is heavily dependent on external trade and a diversified industrial profile.
“I should underscore that Belarus is a country that exports about 70 percent of its GNP [Gross National Production]. So export markets are very important for us,” Martynov said.
Belarus, which does not have any hydro-carbon reserves, is a major supplier of oil and gas products to many European countries. It has two large oil refineries – Naftan and Mozyr oil refineries. The small nation produces one third of global dumpsters, with each one having a capacity ranging between 30 to 400 tons.
“We also produce an entire gamut of machines and equipment for agriculture,” Martynov added.
Belarus also produces 10 percent of the world’s tractors. Its major exports are potash and nitrogen fertilizers, rolled steel, metal cord, mining equipment, trucks, tractors, chemical fibres, tires, yarn, dairy and meat products.
Indonesia has already been importing potassium fertilizers, mining equipment and super tires (for the mining industry’s heavy vehicles) from Belarus.
“Our bilateral trade with Indonesia last year reached US$220 million, which is not much. But 15 years ago our trade was just at $1.8 million. It means our trade increased by over 120 times, “ the minister said.
Belarus opened its embassy in Jakarta on June 11.
While welcoming Belarus’ move to open the embassy, Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s acting director general for European and American affairs M. Wahid Supriyadi said that former Soviet Union countries, including Belarus, offered a lot of opportunities for Indonesia.
According to Martynov, Indonesia and Belarus are currently negotiating at least 15 agreements and memorandum of understandings regarding cooperation in various sectors.