Belarusian Trade Ministry is unlikely to defeat regional protectionism without changing principles of listing taxes to local budgets
According to the presidential decree No 188 of June 3rd, 2016, the Trade Ministry will be transformed into the Antitrust and Trade Ministry, which will be in charge of price regulation, consumer market control and regulation, ensuring equal conditions for all market participants. The ‘reform’ is likely reduce the time for administrative procedures when dealing with disputes between market participants, to simplify access to regional state trading enterprises for suppliers of all types of ownership, to enhance the state’s intervention in pricing. Regional protectionism arises from the principle of taxation at the place of the legal address of a supplier or a commercial enterprise, without changing this principle, the practice of administrative pressure on the market in order to replenish local budgets will remain inefficient.
Image: Дэвид Симонс, The Economist
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.