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Belarus, China into active phase of Great Stone project

Belarus and China reached an unprecedented level of cooperation. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko met with the Chairman of the Committee on Control and Management of State Property under the State Council of China, Xiao Yaqing. The structure unites more than a hundred largest corporations.

Representatives of 16 of them came to Minsk on August 1. The annual turnover of these companies is more than 1.5 trillion dollars. Their interests range from medicine and auto industry to defense.

Yevgeny Gorin, CTV:
In 2016 the profits of the enterprises subordinated to this Chinese Committee amounted to $340 billion. The total revenue was 6 trillion 700 billion dollars.

China is a strategic partner of Belarus. The Technopark "Great Stone" is the most ambitious project of our countries' cooperation, designed for decades. Now comes the active phase of its implementation. The August 1 meeting in the Palace of Independence should be a serious step forward.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus:
Our friendship with you arose when no one said that China can take advantage of the opportunities of Belarus. We developed relations and we are developing them now. But the main thing that was then and remains today is that we don't make friends against someone. We do not bother anyone. We develop our cooperation based on the principles of international law. No treaty between China and Belarus contradicts these principles, especially as it does not violate the stability of the states of this region or the Asian region. A feature of the work of the People's Republic of China with world powers is that China does not teach anyone, does not set preconditions for cooperation. This is probably a new era of economic and political relations in the world - without pressure, without preconditions, only on a mutually beneficial basis. This is the peculiarity of the policy of the great and wise Chinese people. We welcome this. We talk about this and will underline it publicly.

The moment is really becoming a turning point. The May decree No166 now guarantees large benefits to the technopark. Companies are exempt from taxes on land, property and profits. Land plots can be used by an investor up to 99 years. An important Chinese principle "One station" is also introduced. This is when supervisors agree on the work with the administration of the "Great Stone". The document gives a "second wind" to the project and speeds up all the processes. Unofficially, experts called it the "Great Stone of Preferences" as a synonym for one of the best regimes in the world for doing business.

Xiao Yaqing, Chairman of the State Property Control and Control Committee of the State Council of China:
Representatives of 16 companies from China came to Belarus with me. They are among the top 500 largest and strongest enterprises in the world. We all aim at implementing the agreements that were reached between you and the Chairman of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping. He constantly speaks of the extreme importance of strengthening and deepening cooperation between Belarus and China. The Great Stone project should become the pearl of the Economic belt of the Silk Road.

The technopark 25 kilometers away from Minsk is already taking shape. There is a hotel and several buildings. The six-lane road is called Beijing Avenue. There are also streets like Malakhitovaya, Rubinovaya and Sapfirovaya. In the future, Great Stone will become a city where 130,000 people will live and work. Industrial and residential areas will occupy 80 km2. In June, German investors expressed interest in joining Great Stone. On July 31, the first American resident appeared.

Alexander Yaroshenko, head of Administration of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park "Great Stone":
It is planned to produce laser-controlled machines and laser cutting materials, that is, they are very high-power machines, very high-tech products. Again, our expectations are that this is only the first step, I mean for the American resident, because there is a very large field of activity from the point of view of laser technology development.

The "Great Stone" is the largest industrial park in Europe created by China. The PRC's investment in it can amount to $5.5 billion. The project is aimed at the potential of Belarus as a communication link between the CIS and Europe, China and Europe. Belarus is also the gateway to the duty-free market of the Eurasian Economic Union. In the long term, the annual export earnings of the park may amount to $50 billion. If this happens, the "Great Stone" will double the Belarusian economy.

At the meeting with the President, four strategic directions for work were outlined. First, there will be an investment fund for $0.5 billion to attract new residents. If necessary, it will grow. Secondly, work will begin on the study of market demand. It is necessary to determine what goods are more profitable to produce. Thirdly, the park administration will consider staffing issues. Fourthly, Great Stone will be included in the list of projects that the Committee oversees. In practice, this simplifies and expedites the resolution of possible problems from the Chinese side.

Belarus, China into active phase of Great Stone project