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Country News

29 March 2011

Belarus in talks with Belgium, Japan, France over joint ventures in flax industry

MINSK, 29 March (BelTA) – Belarus is discussing the possibility to open joint ventures in the flax industry with Belgium, Japan and France, Agriculture and Food Minister Mikhail Rusyi told reporters on 29 March. The Presidium of the Council of Ministers considered the draft business plan to develop the Belarusian flax industry in 2011-2015, BelTA has learned. According to Mikhail Rusyi, foreign investors are interested in the Belarusian flax industry. He cited Belarus’ plans to cooperate with one of Belgian companies as an example. Belgian investors are eager to finance the short flax fiber processing in Belarus. “We are negotiating with Japan and France as well,” Mikhail Rusyi added. According to him, the interest of foreign investors to Belarusian flax companies is growing because of the reduction of the supply of flax products in the world. Belarus can only benefit from this situation and promote local products. The primary objective is to supply enough flax fiber to Orsha Linen Mill so that the enterprise could ramp up production and increase the quality of products. “Investors started to show interest in the last two months, due to the fact that Europe cut down the production of linen products,” Mikhail Rusyi added. He also stressed that in many counties flax companies are provided with government subsidies. For example, in Belgium the amount of subsidies to produce a tonne of flax fiber makes up $800. Moreover, Belgian manufacturers export their products at world prices. Orsha Linen Mill is also backed by the government, however, the prices for linen products are much lower. "It is essential to identify the two crucial things about the flax business, namely how to make a bigger profit and how to distribute state support," Mikhail Rusyi is convinced.

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