BELARUS READY TO RESUME FREE TRADE IF UKRAINE REVIEWS MEASURES AGAINST BELARUS GOODS
Belarus is ready to resume free trade with Ukraine if the latter reviews its measures on Belarusian products, said Belarusian First Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Guryanov.
“We are ready to completely abandon all of our decisions. We are ready to fully resume free trade. But not before Ukraine looked into the measures taken on Belarusian products, the de facto purpose of which was simply to limit competition from Belarusian manufacturers, ”said Guryanov, commenting on the Belarusian government’s decision to allow the importation of certain types of products in order to restrict trade with Ukraine.
His commentary was posted on the ministry’s website on Friday.
Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Representative Taras Kachka said Belarus was on the verge of introducing an individual licensing regime for the import of a number of Ukrainian products. .
“According to some information, Belarus has introduced individual licenses for the import of certain Ukrainian products: confectionery products, chocolate, fruit juices, beer, chip and fiberboard, wallpaper, toilet paper and packaging, bricks, ceramic tiles, glass bulbs, agricultural equipment for seedlings, washing machines and furniture. The decision was approved by Decree 292 of the Belarusian Council of Ministers on May 26, ”Kashka said on Facebook. The decision will take effect ten months after its publication and will remain in effect for six months, he said.
“Such actions are unfounded and discriminatory. The individual license means the manual management of the import of Ukrainian products into Belarus. The government is holding consultations with manufacturers to deal with the negative consequences of the discriminatory measures taken by the Belarusian government, ”Kashka said.
For his part, Guryanov explained that the decision of the Council of Ministers of May 26, 2021 to allow the importation of certain types of goods was due to the fact that Ukraine had “recently systematically violated the free trade regime set out in the CIS Free Trade Area Law.
“We have all agreed for a long time that a free trade area implies the free movement of goods. The agreement does not imply any tariff restriction on members’ products in any form or stipulation. Last December, Ukraine stunned Belarus by deciding to impose a de facto duty on certain types of Belarusian metal products under the pretext of allegedly hostile and discriminatory measures on the part of the Republic of Belarus ”, he added. he called back.
In May, the Inter-Agency Committee for International Trade of Ukraine imposed additional duties on Belarusian wheel products, and this despite “the Republic of Belarus provided, quite efficiently, passenger facilities to various cities. from Ukraine by offering flexible financing tools, good prices, good technology. On the one hand, we were puzzled; on the other, it was yet another step which we believe is wrong from a free trade perspective, ”he said.
Belarus has long analyzed all Ukrainian measures imposed on Belarus, he said. “I can say that in addition to these two examples I mentioned, Ukraine currently has eight anti-dumping and special protection measures against Belarus. They involve anti-dumping duties on matches, starch, building materials, cement, incandescent bulbs, that is, a whole list of products that are subject to restrictions such as Belarusian exports to the ‘Ukraine,’ he said.
Belarus has repeatedly proposed to Ukraine (including at the level of the Prime Minister as co-chair of the intergovernmental commission and at the level of the foreign trade regulatory body, which in Belarus is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to hold consultations, using mechanisms to remove obstacles, clarifying the positions of the sides, said Guryanov.
“Ukraine has never shown a desire to respond to our demands and only in isolated cases, already after the decisions were taken on restrictive measures against Belarus, we were simply told that at one point , the long-standing decisions of the Republic of Belarus began to be seen as hostile and discriminatory and for this reason it became necessary to restrict our supplies to Ukraine, ”he said.
Belarus has taken measures, which effectively limit imports from Ukraine with additional controls, and then only temporarily, in accordance with international trade rules that are in force in many countries, he said.
“We are ready for discussions at any time. We once worked very actively with Ukraine to remove barriers to mutual trade. For some reason these barriers have now started to reappear, not at our initiative, ”he said.
During bilateral consultations, “Ukraine hinted that what it saw as unfriendly and discriminatory measures on the part of Belarus were, for whatever reason, certain decisions taken by the Eurasian Economic Union, which is now under the responsibility of five countries, and not just Belarus ”. said a diplomat.
“However, contrary or unfriendly restrictive measures had to be taken exclusively against Belarus. For the simple reason that we are still not a member of the World Trade Organization. This apparently means that it is normal to punish us in violation of the principles of free trade, in violation of international agreements which create the conditions for normal competition, for normal export-import operations. So, again: this has nothing to do with the current deterioration in our relationship, aviation issues, etc. This is due to the trade negotiations, pure and simple, which were supposed to lead us to remove the barriers, as I urged our Ukrainian colleagues to do, ”said the first deputy minister.
BELARUS, BELARUSIAN GOODS, FREE TRADE