Lower export duty on potash fertilizers to improve financial health of Belaruskali
For the period from April 1st to December 31st, 2017, Belarus has reduced the export duty on potash fertilizers from EUR 55 to EUR 20 per tonne, including for April and May deliveries in 2017. This decision was due to the lack of significant improvements on the potash market, the price of potash fertilizers in Q1 2017 decreased by 18.5% as compared with 2016. In Q3 and Q4 2017 potash exports would reduce due to major repairs at Belaruskali. Taking into account the estimated annual export volume at 9.5 million tons in 2017, Belaruskali could save some EUR 240 million. These funds could be used to develop the Petrykovskoye deposit and make technical improvements at the enterprise. If the situation on the potash fertilizer market improves, the state could include the company in the list of highly profitable organizations and withdraw part of the gained profits received.
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.