Belarus will import cement from China in 2008, Construction Minister Alyaksandr Selyaznyow said at a joint meeting of the two chambers of the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The government hoped to make up the shortage of cement next year by building two more cement plants, which would increase the domestic output of cement by 700,000t to 4.3Mt in 2008, but orders by ministries, governmental agencies, regional executive committees and private companies have totaled 5.4Mt, Mr. Selyaznyow noted.
China is ready to sell cement to Belarus at $30 to $40/t, he said. Despite the cost of delivery, customs duties and value added tax (VAT), the Chinese cement will be price competitive in the Belarusian market, the minister said.
According to him, Alyaksandr Lukashenka currently considers a proposal to adjust the domestic price of cement to match the export price.
“The domestic price before VAT will also be around $130 starting January,” Mr. Selyaznyow said. No terminal in the former Soviet region would agree now to accept cement in bulk, and yet cement packed in sacks and big bags is not suitable for industrial production, he noted. Talks are underway with the Klaipeda seaport to have Belarusian storage facilities at its terminals, Mr. Selyaznyow said.