Marking costs to rise in Belarus and importers and retailers will pay for it
As of May 14th, Belarus has increased the product marking costs. The list of goods, subject to marking includes 20 items (food and non-food items), and marking costs are increasing by two to seven times. Given the Trade Ministry pricing regulations (price hikes should not exceed 12% inflation target in 2016), tea and coffee range in retailers will change and some cheapest sorts of tea packaged up to 50 grams will no longer be supplied to Belarus. Prices on expensive teas and coffees, as well as non-food products will not change, since importers will cover additional costs. Domestic manufacturers of mineral water and drinks will seek to transfer the increased marking costs on retailers. Amid the need to replenish the state budget, the list of goods subject to marking is likely to expand. In addition, the number of inspections at companies supplying such products is likely to increase too.
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.