Belarus is to phase out its textile industry in 2027 as part of a deal with a group of industrialists and traders.
The deal is the first major move Belarus has made since being placed under the control of Russian-led President Vladimir Putin in 1999.
The move was announced by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in a statement on Tuesday.
“Today, we announce that we are ending our textile production, and starting to make other industrial products in Belarus,” he said.
“In 2027, we will be producing all our textile products from our factories, we have agreed to work together to find a solution to this problem, Belarus is a democratic country, and we will take responsibility for the future of our textile industry.”
The agreement with the textile industry comes after a two-year legal battle in Belarus over a ban on new factories.
Belarus had to abandon plans to open a textile factory, citing “political uncertainty” surrounding the deal.
The country has been a net importer of textile products, accounting for 20% of its total output in 2016.
Belarus has a small textile industry with factories in the capital, Minsk, and on the border with Ukraine.
Belarus is also the world’s biggest exporter of textiles to Russia.
The Belarus government is considering a new industrial agreement with its textile trade association, which is currently working on a new agreement with an EU-based producer.
A new agreement could help lift Belarus out of its dependence on Russia, which has not been a signatory to the World Trade Organisation.