New markets allow compensating for the reduced demand from Russia for products of the Belarusian military industry. The urgency of further diversifying export markets remains.
On February 7th, 2019, Chairman of the State Military-Industrial Committee Roman Golovchenko held a board meeting to discuss the outcomes of 2018. According to reports, there was a significant increase in the share of exports to the CIS markets, while positions on Russian, Middle Eastern and Latin American markets retained. Enterprises of the State Military Industry Committee reported record high export revenues, exceeding USD 1 billion. Simultaneously, parity has been achieved in exports – the share of Russian, CIS and African-Asian markets totalled 30% each.
Last year, Azerbaijan received several shipments of expensive armament from Belarus. In addition, Belarus carried out aircraft repairs for the Kazakhstani Army. Information about other supplies to CIS states has not been disclosed. However, they must have been significant, since exports to Kazakhstan unlikely to have exceeded USD 30 million. In January-November 2018, exports to Azerbaijan more than tripled and exceeded USD 411 million, as compared to some 150 million in 2017. Apparently, the increase in the share was primarily due to exports of military-industrial complex produces.
Large-scale export of weapons and military equipment to Azerbaijan has enabled to level out the reduced demand from Russia. However, Baku is unlikely to become an alternative market to the Russian one in the long term. While speaking about this year’s prospects, Golovchenko was carefully choosing his words, making it clear that amid positive dynamics a significant increase in exports was unlikely. Military-technical cooperation between Kazakhstan and Belarus is likely to strengthen. Previously, Kazakhstan announced the intention to place a large order for the Belarusian military-industrial complex. In any case, export markets’ diversification will remain a long-term priority for the Belarusian military-industrial complex.