ArmInfo. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Armenia Igor Nazaruk believes that all segments of light industry in Armenia are attractive to Belarusian businessmen. The diplomat expressed his views in an express interview with ArmInfo on sidelines of the Light Industry International Trade Show: Congress, Exhibition, Fashion Days in Yerevan.
"What is fashion industry? It is cultural convergence, exchange of collections, ideas, and tendencies. It will be wrong to say that articles made from fur only will be demanded. I am sure that Armenian consumers will like articles from linen, cotton, jersey made by Belarusian producers. Belarusian shoes and textile enterprises have been deeply modernized among others with the support of the government. As a result, we are manufacturing competitive goods. I am pleased to say that we make products for The House of Dior, Defense Ministry of Germany, a range of British and French companies," Ambassador Nazaruk said.
Mr. Ambassador, is it possible to boost industrial development of the country by ensuring a light industry growth based on tolling schemes so trendy for the developing countries?
I strongly disagree with this, as all the tolling deals are backed with technological maps, making-up software and technology. In addition, enterprises often receive technological equipment, and it is often supplied for specific articles. Actually, your enterprise, your technologists receive everything necessary on a platter. This enables designers to use technological trends more efficiently to implement their most ambitious ideas. I see no handicaps here. On the other hand, an enterprise that has already received approval making foreign orders can choose the optimal development way for itself. In this light, I think tolling schemes may stimulate progress, help avoiding idleness and having one's finger on the pulse.
Yet in Soviet period, Armenian shoes were known for their high quality. Do you think that all this is long gone or the Armenian shoe industry will regain the lost positions in the post-Soviet markets, including in Belarus?
Why not? You know, I have seen quite good models today. I do not know why, but it seems that your producers are focusing on men's shoes. I have noticed that men's shoes are luxurios; there are a big variety of models, styles and colors. Perhaps, women's models are not as good, but I think it is because the producers are focusing on the men's shoes. Maybe my wife has different opinion. Belarus is known for its textile, especially linen. Armenian textile is successfully exported to U.S. and Canada thanks to its good quality. Are there any plans to create joint ventures? For that to happen, it is necessary that these enterprises find each other. We have designers, you have production shops and the vice versa. We have the necessary fabric - textile, leather, polyurethane, plastic, and you have demand for those materials. In Armenia the law enforcement, defense, and security forces need special outfit with special features such as sweat, heat and wet resistance etc. We are producing such fabrics and they are sold successfully. Actually, we are cooperating. At the same time, I cannot say exactly that the company A cooperates with the company B, for instance, as the orders are overwhelmingly ad hoc.
Mr. Ambassador, what is the reason of such inert cooperation of businesses particularly in the light industry sector?
Perhaps, this is because our enterprises seek to gain their own niches outside the country too. They are still testing the waters. The sales opportunities are changing rapidly and it will be wrong to say that we have chosen this sector and keep supplying our products there. It is necessary to work on the principle - a good run is better than a bad stand. They are in constant movement, in constant search. I'd reiterate that the market size is very important. It is easier for us to find a potential buyer in Russia or Germany rather than in Armenia, as logistic costs are high amid relatively low cost of goods. However, the logistic costs increase the prices of products making them non-competitive. Although the border between Armenia and Turkey is closed, there are many Turkish goods in Armenia, much more Chinese ones, while Belarusian products lose their competitive advantages due to logistic problems.