Gas-powered vehicles, family business and domestic market protection

№ 3, 2023

Sergey Katyrin, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry
of the Russian Federation,
talks about partnership projects of Belarus and Russia

National and regional Chambers of Commerce of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation have long-standing friendly and professional ties. On a regular basis, they exchange business contacts and proposals. Numerous bilateral business events are held annually, including traditional forums and meetings of the Joint Business Council as part of the Forum of Regions of the two countries. The events address promising areas for the development of Belarus-Russia trade and economic interaction. Participants get the opportunity to share views and cooperation experience.

On the sidelines of INNOPROM, Sergey Katyrin, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, talked about the most promising areas to develop partnerships between the Belarusian and Russian business circles, which the Chambers of Commerce and industry pay special attention to.


Sergey Nikolaevich, on summing up the event of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, held on June 27 as part of the 10th Forum of Regions of Russia and Belarus, you said that Belarusian automakers have great potential to supply gas-powered agricultural and mining equipment to the Russian Federation. Why do you find the gas engine topic attractive?

Gas motor fuel is one of the few environmentally friendly solutions, which is cost-effective due to the difference in prices for gasoline and gas. Another plus of natural gas motor fuel is that virtually any conventional car can be converted to it by installing appropriate equipment.

As of the late 2022 data, there were 892 gas filling stations in Russia. Over 10 years, the number of cars powered by methane and other types of natural gas has grown from 71,000 to 259,000 units. Meanwhile, this number is still very small. To make an objective comparison, there are over 64 million cars registered with the traffic police in the country. However, according to the state strategy, the number of gas-powered vehicles should double by 2024.

The leaders in the number of gas-fuel cars among the subjects of the Russian Federation are Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Krasnodar Territory, Rostov and Kemerovo Regions.

As for the Republic of Belarus, there are 28 gas filling stations, represented in almost all regions.

Thus, basic infrastructure of the countries is ready to ensure the transit of goods by gas-powered vehicles, which will allow both Russian and Belarusian companies to significantly save on road transport.

In addition, as you've correctly noted, there is potential for the supply to Russia of gas-powered agricultural and mining equipment from Belarusian manufacturers, such as, for example, BELAZ, MAZ, Gomel Plant of Agricultural Equipment, as well as for the development of import substitution and expansion of cooperation in the field of supply of components, equipment for filling stations and plants for the production of liquefied natural gas. Therefore, for the further systemic develop­ment of this segment of alternative efficient energy solutions, it is important to establish decent coordination between the responsible departments of our countries.

How do you see future gas engine ­corridors with Belarus?

The priority is the creation of international gas-engine corridors with ­simultaneous construction of ­methane gas stations on the M-1 Belarus and P-23 Pskov highways, as well as the increased supplies of gas-fuel agricultural and mining equipment, the demand for which in Russia keeps growing.

The development of family enterprises, real-sector family business is increasingly popular nowadays. Russia has practical experience in this sphere. You have proposed to harmonize approaches to the development of family businesses in Russia and ­Belarus. Could you, please, tell us more about it?

International experience shows that family business is one of the national economy pillars, as it focuses on innovative development and longevity of a company. Family businesses are estimated to make up two-thirds or more of the total amount of businesses worldwide, contributing 70 to 90 percent of annual global GDP and 50 to 80 percent of employment.

To promote the ideas of supporting family companies and popularizing family values in our country, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation has developed and is actively implementing a special project to develop family entrepreneurship. This project contributes to the formation of state support measures, as well as to the creation of infrastructure organizations with a comprehensive package of services to address current problems and strategic challenges of family businesses.

In the post-COVID period, we have held four Russian family business forums titled "Successful Family – Successful Russia!". The overall results of the forums are more than 18 thousand participants, family businesses from 85 regions, more than 50 thematic sections, exposition zones, an agricultural exhibition of farm products, trainings, and much more.

Work is underway to consolidate the concept of "family business" in regional legislation. This has already been done in five regions, namely in the Nizhny Novgorod and Ryazan regions, the Republic of Bashkortostan and the Kamchatka Territory, as well as in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Together with our colleagues from the State Duma, the Federal Assembly and the Government of the Russian Federation, we are working on introducing amendments to federal legislation.

The topic of family business is still in many respects in the initial stages of formation, institutionalization and legislative codification. That is why we find it important, being at the beginning of this path, to harmonize the approaches of Russia and Belarus to this topic at the governmental, legislative level.

Changes in the world economy and trade have become prerequisites for the development of technological sovereignty in our states, the formation of its methodology. What do you think: can we talk about the Russian-Belarusian technological sovereignty today, and what are its prospects?

Russia and Belarus urgently need to ensure technological sovereignty and protect the Union State market. In this regard, special attention should be paid to the implementation of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Scientific, Technical and Innovative Cooperation signed in March 2023.

According to the document, the countries promote the development and strengthening of scientific, technical and innovation cooperation, the creation of the necessary organizational, legal, financial and economic conditions for joint research and development activities.

Technological sovereignty, the preservation and development of the design and technological competencies of our countries are inextricably linked with the topic of domestic market protection. One of the directions in this context is the pooling of competencies, access to joint industry programs. Such programs have already been adopted in microelectronics and space.

But that's not all the competencies we need to combine, including in the context of joint ventures creating. It also seems promising to develop similar programs in machine tool building and many other areas.

What, in your opinion, are the role and contribution of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in achieving the goals mentioned above?

Being associations of business circles, Chambers of Commerce and Industry fully support the course of our countries towards openness, the improvement of trade and mutual investment conditions, search for new points of growth and development. Through our cooperation, we have accumulated considerable experience in holding business events, with special place belonging to the Joint Belarusian-Russian Business Council.

As we see it, the task today is to shape the agenda of our events adequately to the ongoing changes in the world economic situation. The ability of our companies to overcome the problems of their development largely depends on our joint work.

First of all, we need to organize our work in such a way that the demand we have is met by the proposals from our entrepreneurs. In this respect, we need to be more active in informing the businessmen of our countries about the opportunities and needs of the respective markets, and to maintain the intensity of work on holding bilateral forums, business meetings and B2B events, which provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity to communicate live. We will keep working actively on it.99_02_02.jpg