Updated at 19:56,22-01-2021

Russia puts “a cross“ on Lukashenko's car dreams


"You want to assemble - assemble, but drive them inside Belarus ... We do not want to liquidate own automobile industry", said Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov.

That's how the diplomat in an interview with TUT.BY commented on the plans of official Minsk to organize in Belarus the Chinese car assembly plant.

"We are very attentive to this issue. We can not prohibit anything, but we understand where do these low prices on products come from, we know why the taxes in China is two times lower - there are no social obligations, there are no pension funds, citizens provide pensions by themselves, public health are not free, education is expensive and miserable salaries. And automatically Chinese assembly in Belarus is super competitive", Alexander Surikov said. "So we will discuss, what for do we need this in the market of Customs Union. You want to assemble - assemble, but drive them inside Belarus ... We do not want to liquidate our own automobile industry. And we can not abolish pensions in Russia. In Belarus, by the way - too".

As UDF.BY wrote earlier, on December 23 at a press conference for Belarusian and regional media, First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashko said that the manufacture of Chinese Lifan cars will be created in Borisov.

"Today, Minister of Industry reported to me that negotiations are completed and documents are signed with the Chinese company Lifan on the establishment of a joint venture of cars in Borisov with the maximum perspective of localization. Founders of the Belarusian side are "BATE" and BelAZ", Semashko said.

At the same press conference, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that in order to create a car assembly it is more profitable for the country to attract a major investor, than do it yourself.

"Attracting a major corporation here, we say, guys, come, we will create better conditions, better than that of your neighbors. However, car production and sales - that's your problem and concern", he said.

Later it became known that Belarus signed an investment project to create a joint venture, which will be engaged in assembling Chinese Geely.

In February, the press leaked the information that, with the participation of Geely in Belarus two companies "BelDzhi"and "Soyuzavtotehnologii" have been established.

According to the online edition of "Ezhednevnik", the company will be engaged, respectively, in auto industry and manufacturing of automotive components on the territory of Belarus. Both joint ventures are officially registered as residents of FEZ "Minsk".

In Belarus several attempts to organize an assembly production of foreign cars have already been made

In 1997 in the company "Ford Union" in Obchak near Minsk an assembly production of cars Ford Escort was organized. And after 10 years they have begun to assemble there Iranian "Samand" based on the French Peugeot 405. Both projects have failed.

Most likely, the same fate awaits and Chinese Geely. Chairman of the Belarusian Automobile Association Sergei Mikhnevich previously told UDF.BY, that Moscow was serious about it, to prevent the organization in Belarus cheap Chinese cars.

According to the expert, Russia adheres to a rigid position with respect to Chinese automakers and the domestic market:

"Russia sees in the Chinese automobile industry a serious competitor and does not allow it to develop its market. Chinese violate patent rights of the leading car manufacturers, because of this they have big problems with the promotion of products, including in Europe. In this regard, Russia's position coincides with the pan-European opinion on the matter".

Sergei Mikhnevich has little optimism about the Belarusian-Chinese cooperation in the sphere of production cars. Such skepticism is not only due to the difficult economic situation in Belarus, but also because of the reputation of Chinese automakers:

"Belarusians should work with those who really has technologies- the Germans, Koreans, Japanese, French. Chinese copy technologies, or simply steal. So to start cooperation in this area with them is fraught with serious problems", the expert concluded.