New certification rules may boost illegal supply of household appliances to Belarus
According to the Government Resolution No 849 of October 21st, 2016, as of February 1st, 2017, Belarus will introduce a mandatory certification of all imported home appliances. Certification will be required for each consignment of imported products, even those produced in the EEU. Given the certification deadline and terms, as well as the workload at the testing facilities, it would be virtually impossible to test all appliances in a timely manner. This will lead to a sales ban on non-certified products. This measure was designed to boost sales of domestic home appliances and increase the price of those imported. Gray import schemes of home appliances are likely to emerge and retail trade turnover after certification requirements take effect is likely to reduce, so as the range of home appliances on sale. Belarusians are likely to start purchasing home appliances abroad. In addition, other countries may regard new certification rules as restrictive and introduce retaliatory measures against Belarusian goods.
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.