Russia's Bryansk region seeks closer ties with Ukraine, Belarus

MOSCOW, May 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Bryansk Region is seeking closer economic ties with neighboring Ukraine and Belarus, including finding common solutions to overcome the crisis, the governor of the west Russian region said on Tuesday.

"The Bryansk Region needs Ukrainian goods and services, while our Ukrainian neighbors want those from Bryansk. The two parties' essential interests require us to consolidate and expand cooperation. We have common interests, including the drafting of a joint strategy to overcome the current crisis. The same is also true of Belarus," Nikolai Denin said.

He said regional trade with Ukraine exceeded $710 million in 2008, up 13% year-on-year. The Bryansk Region exports cranes, railroad engines, motor graders and timber to Ukraine, which in turn supplies ferrous metals, pipes, rail cars, engines, power generators, industrial machines and construction materials.

According to the governor, trade between the Bryansk Region and Belarus totaled $380 million last year, up 50% against 2007.

Denin said his region would receive 164 million rubles ($5.3 million) from the Economic Development Ministry as part of anti-crisis measures to support small and medium-sized businesses.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday initiatives introduced by local authorities to create a favorable investment climate were having a positive effect on efforts to strengthen ties with other countries, primarily Ukraine and Belarus.

"Last year, the region's foreign trade reached $1.5 billion. Over 50 countries buy products from the Bryansk Region, and the number is rising constantly. Some 500 companies with foreign investment are active in the region," Lavrov told representatives of international organizations and foreign diplomats attending a presentation of the region.

Lavrov also described the Bryansk Region as one of Russia's most dynamically developing territories.



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