Belarus lifts licensing restrictions on Ukrainian products
On July 24th, the Council of Ministers signed a regulation, which abolished the temporary licensing on goods supply from the CIS countries, signatories to the Free Trade Zone Agreement.
The Belarus’ government was prompted to adopt this resolution due to harsh reciprocal measures against Belarusian goods proposed by Ukraine. In turn, Ukraine is expected to suspend the introduction of ‘special’ duties on Belarusian goods; the assortment of Ukrainian beer and chocolates will expand and prices will go down. However, Belarus will continue using restrictive practices in respect of consumer imports. The main risk is the potential changes in the Ukrainian Government, which could lead to technical problems with the timely abolition of the Ukrainian government’s previous decisions and result in Belarus re-introducing temporary licensing on Ukrainian products.
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.