Representatives of Russia’s Union of Agricultural Equipment Producers (Soyuzagromash) will hold trade talks with Belarusian counterparts in Minsk on Wednesday.
Taking part in the negotiations will be executives representing Belarusian farm machinery plants. When reached by BelaPAN on Tuesday, both the press office of the Belarusian Council of Ministers and Soyuzagromash confirmed that the talks would be held the following day.
The negotiations will take place days after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised to check allegations that Belarus "covertly" exports agricultural machinery to Russia.
Instead of supplying components to a joint assembling company in Bryansk, Belarus' Homselmash exports finished machinery, Valery Maltsev, director general of Russia's Rostselmash, complained at a government conference held in Rostov-on-Don on Monday. Homselmash only replaces labels and rewrites documents to identify the machinery as Russian-made and thus make its manufacturer eligible for the Russian government's subsidies, Mr. Maltsev said.
"As for other states' covert exports to Russia bypassing earlier decisions, we'll pay particular attention to this," Mr. Putin was quoted as saying in response. The markets of Russia and Belarus should be equally accessible, Mr. Putin said.
While supplying more than 1,100 combines to Russia every year, Belarus denies the same opportunity to Rostselmash and does not abide by its contractual obligations, Tatyana Zakablukova, spokeswoman for the Russian manufacturer, told reporters.
Belarus has bought only 30 Rostselmash combines of the 200 provided for by the most recent contract, Ms. Zakablukova noted.