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Chinese investors to pump $1bn into Belarus meat plants

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The news came after a meeting between the companies and Belarus agricultural and food minister Leonid Zayats this month.

Belarus exported agricultural products to China worth $4.2m in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 50% from the year before, according to official statistics. This is set to increase substantially with Chinese investors establishing joint ventures in the country by 1 September that will export products worth $10m from Belarus to China.

It has also been agreed that by 1 October Chinese investors will set up factories for manufacturing polylactide-based food packaging for meat to be exported to China. Chinese investors will also use nearly 40,000 ha of agricultural land in Mogilev Oblast to build several livestock farms in the region.

China’s investment rising

As part of the agreement, Belarus meat facilities will be visited by Chinese veterinary inspectors in the second half of June. Following this, the country’s beef farms expect to receive approval to deliver meat to China in July 2017. Belarus poultry farms also plan to gain authorisation to supply China, said Zayats, but did not specify when this would happen.

Belarus exports mostly dairy products to China with 34 meat-processing plants registered to supply the country, according to official statistical information.

There are also several other projects under discussion, according to Zayats. Chinese investors would like to operate large companies in Belarus with considerations including “investments into modernisation of already existing facilities or construction of new ones from scratch,” he said. Zayats also described the Chinese market as one of the most promising for the development of meat exports from Belarus.

It is believed that the recent deal would help Belarus’ Agricultural Ministry to hit its 2016-2020 development targets, known as Agribiz-2020, which aim for agricultural exports to jump 40% during the period to US$7 billion.

The largest buyer of Belarus meat is Russia, but recent supplies have come under pressure after Russia’s veterinary body Rosselhoznadzor made claims about low quality and presence of antibiotics in delivered products. Meat factories in Belarus were forced to temporarily cease operations on 10 June because of the issues.

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