Last week Lukashenka hosted representatives of the Chinese media. The meeting was held before the “One Belt — One Road” summit, which will begin work on May 14th in Beijing. Belarus will certainly participate in the forum, the head of the country said.
Is the game worth the effort?
“In fact, the initiative itself is a historical event reshaping the economic map of the world,” Lukashenka argued.
Presidential remarks caused skeptical comments
“This is China’s gain, and it is not the only option. Belarus may me a warehouse here, a transit point. It is convenient for China, and what would Belarus get? Benefits are doubtful,” says a political commentator Klaskouski.
Chinese do not like the Belarusian bureaucracy
This problem may be now made clear by the former aide to Lukashenka, Belarus Ambassador to China Kiryl Rudy. Of course, for the Belarusian side the sensitive issue of meager Chinese investment remains. As it turns out, the reason for this situation is, in particular, the weak financial market and the Belarusian bureaucracy, Mr Rudy states.
Belarus today has nothing to attract Chinese with
Official Minsk hopes that the situation will improve in the near future. There are great expectations for the future industrial park “Big Stone”, created in the outskirts of Minsk. Lukashenka expects approximately $ 50 billion of proceeds from the joint project.
Chinese investors may get attracted by the small salaries of Belarusians
In some Chinese provinces the salary is $ 1,000, but the Belarusians can only dream about this kind of money.
“Now Chinese companies are beginning to shift production in the countries, where the wages are lower. In this regard, we are becoming more and more attractive with low, moderate wages,” said Mr Rudy.
Grounds for optimism are questionable
“Production shifted to the countries with lower wages is already obsolete. And the new production facilities, new technologies are developing in the countries where there is a highly qualified workforce and higher salaries are in demand,” says Mr. Marholin.
How will Belarusians get rich thanks to Chinese investment?
For now low wages, which are supposedly to attract investors, are the main concern of Belarusians. For several years Lukashenka has been promising to increase payments to $ 500 per month. However, today, few believe it.
In the near future, getting rich with the help from the Chinese looks unlikely. Moreover, China itself is facing new challenges. Its gross domestic product last year was the lowest in 25 years.
Ian Babitsky, “Belsat”