Belarus to keep sales up on Russian market with lower export prices
According to the National Statistics Committee, Belarus’ exports to the Russian market in January - October 2016 totalled 8.8 billion and increased by 0.7% as compared with the same period in 2015. Prices for most Belarusian export items on the Russian market fell as compared with 2015. The growth in export was mainly due to higher export volumes, including the biggest growth in exports of capital goods (machinery and equipment, means of land transport). The Russian Food Administration is likely to continue to control fruit and vegetable supply to Russia from Belarus in order to reveal re-exports. In addition, exports of non-food consumer goods from Belarus (clothing, footwear, household appliances) to the Russian market are likely to increase. Stagnation in the construction industry is likely to lower the demand for decoration and building materials from Belarus. Due to the increased share of the Russian rouble in the basket of currencies, Belarus will improve response to changes in prices in Russia, and if necessary, will step up the competitiveness of Belarusian goods by propping up the national currency.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.