Belarusian enterprises allowed making pre-payments to foreign counterparts
As of May 12th, 2015, Belarusian companies allowed making advance payments when dealing with non-Eurasian Economic Union companies. Such payment restrictions were introduced in November 2008 and were lifted with regard to Russia and Kazakhstan in March 2011. Lifting of restrictions may increase importers activity on the foreign exchange market and import prices may somewhat reduce due to changes in the payment terms. Meanwhile, imports from Russia will not lose their appeal due to a moratorium on the VAT refund on supplies from non-EEU countries. If loan interest rates continue to reduce, companies may hedge the exchange rate risks with rouble loans. The main risk for importers includes administrative measures aimed at increasing sales of domestic products and creating obstacles for imports to Belarus.
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.