Belarus has already agreed to reduce the level of state support to agricultural producers in the framework of the Eurasian agreements.
Mikalai Ulasau, representative of "Rosselkhoznadzor" proposed to introduce a quota system for the supply of Belarusian dairy products to the Russian market at the hearings in the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
Andrei Yeliseyeu, analyst of Eurasian States in Transition (EAST) Research Center, a Warsaw-based think-tank, commented on the causes of the conflict in his interview with the "EuroBelarus" Service Information.
- Why has Russia decided to apply administrative measures towards Belarusian agricultural products?
- Firstly, the price of Belarusian products creates a serious competition to Russian ones.
Secondly, Russian suspects that Belarus uses "dairy raw materials of unknown origin."
- Could it be that all the previous actions of Rosselkhoznadzor were taken with the view of such a result?
- Basically, the Rosselkhoznadzor’s suggestion was unreasonable because, firstly, Russia cannot impose the proposed quotas and, secondly, Belarus has already agreed to reduce the level of state support to agricultural producers.
Rosselkhoznadzor should search out the low-quality products. There is some evidence that the Belarusian enterprises were deceived: someone attributed foodstuffs falsifications to them.
- How much of Belarusian milk and dairy products are exported to Russia? And what are the prices there?
- Last year Belarus produced about 7 million tons of milk, 4.1 million tons were exported, i.e. more than a half.
More than 90% of the Belarusian dairy products export goes to Russia. we are trying to enter other markets, but it is a very slow process.
Cheese, butter and powdered skimmed milk are the main exported dairy products. It is no accident that Belarus was ranked third in the world for the butter production and fifth for the production of cheese and skimmed milk in 2015.
The problem for Belarus is that even though the volume of export is increasing the revenues are falling.
On the average the prices of Belarusian manufacturers are lower than the prices of their Russian colleagues.
- There are already ideas that should Russia introduce restrictions, Belarus must simply leave the unionwith Russia. Is it possible in the present situation?
- In the near future it is out of the question. It would be followed by radical political and economic pressure from Russia.
- Mikhail Rusy believes that the sanction can be removed by the end of the week. Will the Customs Code become the subject of bargain between Minsk and Moscow in solving bilateral problems?
- Sanctions on the supply of certain products for various enterprises were introduced for different reasons, and therefore it is unlikely they would be lifted at the same time.
If Rosselkhoznadzor lifts sanctions it actually nullifies the importance of all its previous bans. It is possible that Belarus will try to use the updated Customs code to negotiate, but the EAEC and Russia will hold their ground.