NICARAGUA, November 6 (Itar-Tass) - Russia and Nicaragua have good potential for diversifying trade and economic relations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told an intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical co-operation on Tuesday.
“We are interested in expanding the presence of Nicaraguan companies in Russia, which will undoubtedly promote trade relations between the two countries,” Ryabkov said, heading the commission's Russian side. The two sides had agreed that businessmen from Nicaragua would visit Russia next year to assess possibilities for increasing product supplies to Russia.
The current session has provided an opportunity to diversify economic ties, largely due to several proposals from the Nicaraguan partners. Ryabkov noted plans to build a wheat storage elevator and a wheat handling mill in the Central American country. Nicaragua would consider supplying Russian vaccines to the country and establishing a pharmaceutical manufacturing laboratory.
“Nicaragua is a very special partner for Russia and stands out against other Latin American states,” Ryabkov said. “Our relations are constantly growing. We co-operate successfully in various spheres, from agriculture and fishery to issues of international security.”
Nicaragua is planning to start exporting Russian wheat next year, the country’s Minister of Development, Industry and Trade Orlando Solorzano told Itar-Tass on Tuesday. So far, wheat has been supplied as free humanitarian aid.
“We are going to discuss commercial wheat supplies as of next year in the near future,” Solorzano said, adding his country was planning to re-export some of Russian wheat to other Central American states.
While talking to the Russian delegation at a meeting of the intergovernmental cooperation commission, he expressed interest in the construction of a special complex for storage and processing of up to 40,000 tonnes of wheat in Nicaragua. The possibility of this project, intended to satisfy the needs of internal and regional markets, will be discussed with the OJSC Consortium Elevatorprodmashtroy soon, Solorzano added.
Russia has long been providing Nicaragua with wheat aid. A total of 125,000 tonnes of wheat has been supplied to the country in the last two years. Russian humanitarian supplies of wheat cover 80 percent of Nicaragua’s yearly needs.
Panama canal alternative
Nicaragua is interested in attracting Russian capital and companies in building an alternative to the Panama Canal in the country, Nicaraguan Minister of Finance and Public Credit Ivan Acosta said.
“We invite Russia to take part in the construction of the transport corridor and are sure that the country will take an interest in the implementation of the large-scale project to which the Nicaraguan authorities attach major importance,” Acosta said. “Russia’s participation in the canal creation is important, we believe.”
Nicaraguan Minister of Development, Industry and Trade Orlando Solorzano told Itar-Tass that he believed that “the participation of Russian state companies in the construction of the canal is highly promising.” “We prioritise the RF role in the project implementation, taking into account the friendly ties between our states,” he said.
Taking the floor at the final meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the “plans for the canal building in Nicaragua attract major attention.” He expressed a view that Russian companies “could supply special equipment, building materials and structures” for the canal.
The Hong Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment is engaged in the development of the project for building a shipping route between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in Nicaragua. Experts estimate the cost of the project at 40 billion U.S. dollars, and it will take 10 years to complete it.
General cooperation trends
Overall, Nicaraguan-Russian Intergovernmental Commission’s third meeting on the development of trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation that has ended in the Nicaraguan capital has outlined the promising sphere for further bilateral cooperation. The two states’ delegations’ heads on Tuesday stressed that the two countries had a considerable potential for the expansion of bilateral interaction and expressed the intention to take steps aimed at its effective use.
“We are achieving noticeable results in our cooperation contacts and we should develop them,” and the two states’ governments are willing to do so, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who chairs the Russian side of the Commission, said. According to him, “relations between Russia and Nicaragua are developing in scope and depth, embracing even the spheres that just a few years ago seemed a distant prospect.”
However, in the bilateral cooperation spheres “there are still serious tasks, particularly in the sphere of the establishment and development of trade-economic ties,” Ryabkov noted. There have been ups and downs in them, however, “the special nature of our relations is immune to juncture of events or doubt: it is a reflection of the political will and mutual goodwill of our governments and peoples.”
Nicaraguan Deputy Foreign Minister Valdrack Jaentschke who is the Intergovernmental Commission’s co-chair, said that “relations between the two countries have considerably expanded over recent years and continue to strengthen successfully.” “We have major potential for further building up of mutual cooperation and firmly intend to develop long-term cooperation with Russia,” said the Nicaraguan official.
The Commission’s meeting outlined prospects for the development of bilateral ties, Jaentschke stated. He expressed confidence that the “results of the commission’s work will make it possible to make a big step forward in the expansion of cooperation.”
The Commission’s two-day meeting discussed issues of bilateral cooperation in the spheres of transport, supplies of agricultural products, aviation, supplies of Russian equipment for the prevention and elimination of natural disasters’ aftermath. The delegations of the two states also considered issues related to cooperation in the pharmaceuticals and military-technical spheres. On the meetings’ results the sides signed a protocol and the Final Act, which, in particular, stresses “the two countries’ intention to strengthen bilateral cooperation.”