Home / Economy / Moscow and Minsk are on the verge of a new trade war

Moscow and Minsk are on the verge of a new trade war

Москва и Минск на пороге новой торговой войны

“Russia has become emboldened to such an extent that they begin to twist arms of Belarus”. This statement in plain text has been made by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday, April 11.

However, he did not specify who exactly in Russia has in mind. According to BelTA, Lukashenko also commented on the ban on the import of apples and pears from the country to Russia.

This prohibition, the Belarusian leader compared with the sanctions.

“Every day I hear and read that our main trading partner (they like to call themselves “partners”) more and more to introduce sanctions against Belarus. They are under sanctions and condemn it, and I absolutely support them. But at the same time, such arms are fighting against their closest allies,” he said.

Russian partners, according to Lukashenko, Belarus closed the market for supplies.

“That one company was closed, then another. Then either carrots, or lettuce, or cucumbers already did not like. Whether they have a suspicion there that we cannot supply from there. And every day is the closure of our enterprises”, — was indignant President.

Before it became known that the Federal service for veterinary and phytosanitary supervision of Russia from April 12, introduces temporary restrictions on deliveries to the country of apples and pears from Belarus due to counterfeit phytosanitary certificates. Earlier Rosselkhoznadzor banned the import to Russia of Turkish apples through Belarus. April 1, the Department stated that the Belarusian side has stopped the certification of the produce of the sanctions, which came to Belarus from other countries for further re-export to Russia.

However, some “cucumbers-tomatoes” resentment Farther not limited. In his speech, the Belarusian leader recalled the story of the pipelines, stressing that Moscow does not respond to kind treatment of Minsk.

“The good that we do for the Russian Federation, we constantly turns evil,” he said.

Lukashenko reminded, as did the Belarusian side, when she was told about the emergency condition of the pipeline and the pipelines that go through Belarus: they began to close, because you know — it can harm Russia.

Now the Republic when necessary will shut down the pipelines for repairs, despite the transit of Russian oil. “If you want to put on the repair of the pipelines and the oil pipelines that go through Belarus, the place and repair”, — Lukashenko warned his Ministers.

By the way, in Minsk last week announced the intention to increase by 23% the cost of Russian oil transit.

— Lukashenka’s statement can be explained the dialectical transition of quantity into quality: Alexander G. accumulated discontent has reached a qualitatively new level and was splashed all over the media, says political analyst Ivan Lizan.

Plus he has such a negotiating tactic: he appeals to Russian colleagues through the media.

“SP”: — To whom he refers? Who exactly is twisting his arm?

— Vladimir Vladimirovich, as it is the highest authority in the negotiations. The point is that officials and Ministers on both sides of the Russian-Belarusian border are lobbyists of the national capital and national interests — it’s OK, they pay money for it and for the efficiency of protection of national interests assess the effectiveness of their work. But the presidents have the greatest authority and trust to each other, allowing them to negotiate and make decisions that go against national interests. The Union logic is always a compromise that allow to negotiate and to achieve common goals.

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“SP”: — the Rosselkhoznadzor it is not just imposed restrictions. Belarusian merchants really supply the Russian market sanctions. What Lukashenko wants? To continue to turn a blind eye? By the way, why did you stop?

— In conjunction with the Belarusian businessmen are businessmen, the Russian and Ukrainian often. So to blame Belarusians of smuggling is not correct — letranite always have your recipient in Russia and implementer. Limits are also imposed not for nothing, but their reason is not so much smuggling (suffered it before), but the crisis of confidence of regulatory authorities to each other and attempt to write new rules for doing business. Of course, Belarusians perceive it as an attack on the status quo, because before everyone was more or less arranged, and now the rules change.

Lukashenka defends the national interests of the Republic of Belarus, Putin — the national interests of the Russian Federation. And Federal interests lie approximately in the middle. The national interest is always the alloy of politics with the economy. Lukashenko wants to remove the headache of filling the budget RB: get rid of any restrictions of access to the Russian market, to obtain loans to subsidize agriculture and industry (and this is quite normal desire) and that it does not require deeper integration, which in the future will lead to restriction of sovereignty.

Russia is willing to deepen integration at the Minsk deal: money in exchange for a portion of sovereignty. By the way, the loss of part of sovereignty absolutely necessary in the integration: it will lose as Minsk and Moscow, regardless of which format to integrate both the SG or the EEU. The whole issue is that loss of sovereignty was acceptable.

“SP”: — in response, Lukashenka threatened to shut the pipeline for repair. Whether he will go for it? And to whom does it make this worse?

— I am not an expert in oil and don’t know whether to repair them at the moment. So I can not say, I will go or not. Obviously, if no repair is necessary, the transit stop will not lead to anything good.

“SP”: — what is the fundamental reason for the differences? Sanctione? Tax maneuver? The price of gas? Or something more global?

— The exhaustion of the current format of integration. Moscow wants to deepen, but wants to keep everything as it was. But save as will not work. The current situation is a crisis of growth. Or the country will compromise, or quarrel, and Russia will go to the besieged fortress. I hope that Moscow and Minsk to agree after a game of nerves.

“SP”: — How Moscow would react to these statements? But if Minsk will be followed by any action?

— I think that will react calmly in Moscow know the negotiating habits of Alexander G. therefore publicly will not respond. But the policy direction will not change. So such statements will be repeated.

— We all know: the politician in Belarus is only one, and he had to seek opponents outside the country under the de facto began the campaign continues the theme of expert on the Russian-Belarusian relations Dmitry Bolkunets — Sixth presidential term and a new five-year plan Lukashenka still does not find the financial support of Moscow. You have to take the emotions, calm the item, to explain why nearly one million citizens of Belarus went to work in Russia and in EU countries.

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Of course, there are certain achievements that can be recorded in the asset Lukashenko, but need to move on. Recently left his post by the President of Kazakhstan, on the approach of successor in Tajikistan. Probably, Lukashenka concerned that he is now the longest reigning President in the whole continent, the politician of the XX century.

“SP” — Lukashenko has compared the actions of the Rosselkhoznadzor with the sanctions. How appropriate is the comparison?

— The Rosselkhoznadzor is engaged in its responsibilities for veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance. Restrictions are imposed in relation to the products of many countries.

The export of Belarusian goods to Russia in 2018 amounted to $ 12.6 billion Belarus ‘ main exports to Russia are food products and agricultural raw materials — 31.7% of exports of goods to Russia. The market for Russian companies in Belarus almost closed.

In recent years, Russia has conducted a systematic work to detect and prevent the delivery of the sanctions. This has been more evident in recent months, and this is causing such a reaction of the Belarusian leader.

You need to understand that smuggling is principally a European, Belarusian and Russian companies, and in some countries, and government agencies. Smuggling, as a rule, black money, crime and loss to the budget. Probably in the last smuggling through Belarus has reached such proportions that it was decided to block.

Russia is in favour of a systematic solution to the issues, not the clarification of minor trade issues. On the agenda the question of the future Union Treaty, which is deliberately ignored by the Belarusian leadership.

“SP”: — in response, Lukashenka threatened to shut the pipeline for repair.

— April 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law on ratification of the Protocol with Belarus on measures to settle trade and economic cooperation in the export of oil and oil products. In accordance with the Protocol, the export from Russia to Belarus oil, petroleum products and petrochemicals, with the exception of the volume envisaged in the indicative balance sheets and protocols, is prohibited. This has caused damage to individual companies and persons who had a good income, using the “Belarusian oil offshore”.

The threat to block the pipeline — this is outright blackmail and resembles the action of “Somali pirates”. Such steps would undermine the credibility of Belarus as a reliable transit country of energy resources not only from Russia but from the European consumers. In such conditions Russia will be forced to consider alternative channels of delivery of oil, gas and goods to end consumers. This will seriously affect the budget of Belarus. I think Lukashenka will be wise enough not to commit rash actions.

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