Belarus will keep circa USD 1.5 billion from export duties on oil products until 2025
On November 28th, the Council of the Republic approved amendments to the intergovernmental agreement on payments and transfer of export duties on oil products. Belarus will be able to keep roughly USD 125 million in her budget each month, but not more than USD 1.5 billion a year. If oil prices drop below USD 70/barrel, Belarus’ proceeds will drop and she will need additional funds to repay her public debt. The government is anticipated to continue negotiations with Russia in order to receive better compensation for Russia’s grand tax manoeuvre in the petrochemical industry. When the intergovernmental agreement is ratified, Belarus will still have the possibility to resume her export schemes with antioxidants and bituminous mixtures and increase their export volumes in order to compensate for the lower oil price and lower profitability of the industry.
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.