Belarus may restrict imports of goods with Russian conformity certificates
As of February 2017, the Russian Federal Customs Service stopped accepting conformity certificates issued by Custom Union member states other than Russia at the Russian customs border. Such approach violates the principles of the EEU Treaty and its main goal is to ensure that the certification of all products coming to Russia is carried out only by Russian certification bodies and generates additional income for them. Due the new rules, Belarusian cargo transport companies are likely to reduce the volume of transit cargo shipments. There may be difficulties with certification of imported products supplied with Russian certificates. The terms for products certification may increase and there may be more cases when products with Russian certificates could be denied registration in Belarus. If the issue is not resolved in the near future, Belarus could introduce similar measures in response, which would lead to problems with supply of some goods and enhanced control over imports from Russia. In addition, Belarus could introduce administrative measures to perplex access of Russian products to the Belarusian market.
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.