Daily: Türi Belarusian tractor reseller concerned about sanctions

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MTZ has been cranking out the MTZ-80 model tractor for nearly half a century. The model is still produced in Minsk. Source: George Chernilevsky /Wikimedia Commons

A spokesperson for a Türi-based firm which imports Belarus-made tractors – the agricultural machinery has been a hallmark of that country since the Soviet era – says that any sanctions place on the Alexander Lukashenko regime should affect the Belarusian leader and his associates personally, and not the ordinary factory worker there, regional daily Järva Teataja reports.

The Türi firm, Bel-Est, in Järva County, central Estonia, says it has been doing business for 30 years as the official in-country agent for the near-legendary Minsk Tractor Works (Minski Traktarny Zavod, or MTZ), Järva Teataja reports (link in Estonian).

Company board member Indrek Tammel says that business had been fine, but the recent messages about sanctions, airspace closures and other repercussions which have appeared in Estonia and internationally in the wake of last Sunday's forced landing of a Vilnius-bound civilian airliner in Belarusian airspace have caused him and the company concern.

Around 5,000 Belarusian-made tractors have been sold by the Türi firm since its inception all told, Tammel said – mainly to smallholders and foresters but also to larger agricultural concerns –  and doing business there had been little different from doing business with EU states, with no major obstacles having cropped up during that time, he said.

Around 50 Minsk-made tractors are sold in Estonia per year, he added, with a market for after-sales of spare parts also present, and the product seems to have a loyal niche market despite the wide range of competing machines made in other countries which are on the market – likely because of the sheer simplicity of build and lack of complex electronics, he said.

The original Järva Teataja piece is here.

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