Updated at 18:07,08-09-2017

Cheap European goods from Ukraine to not reach Belarus

Illa Malinousky, Euroradio

Since January 1, the European goods have been exempt from Ukrainian duties and, respectively, are cheaper for Ukrainian consumers. In 2011, an agreement on free trade zone was signed by the CIS member states. Accordingly, European goods imported through Ukraine may soon also appear on the Belarusian shelves.

"The so called free trade zone in the CIS is just a paper fiction, not a real zone, said, smiling, the Belarusian economist Yaraslau Ramanchuk. - So I do not think there will be some sort of an influx of cheap European goods. We have the methods and tools against imports that a mouse would not slip, not to mention the goods. Even if the mouse is from Ukraine."

The Ukrainian economic expert Boris Kushniruk is also convinced that Belarusians should not expect an influx of cheap European goods from Ukraine. There will surely be attempts of re-export, but very weak ones, believes the expert.

"The European goods will become cheaper in the Ukraine's market only nominally, explained the expert. - Taking into account the heavy devaluation of the hryvnia, for the majority of the population these goods will still be extremely expensive. Therefore, we should not expect the mass importation of European goods to Ukraine. There may just not be a demand for them."

Along with the creation of a free trade area between Kyiv and Brussels, came into action the decree of Vladimir Putin, which suspended the agreement of the free trade zone between Russia and Ukraine. This step was explained the "exceptional circumstances that affected the interests and economic security of the Russian Federation."

"While in 2011 the Ukrainian exports to Russia amounted to about $20 billion, by the end of 2015, it could not reach 4.5 billion, explains the effect of the Russian sanctions on Ukraine Boris Kushniruk. - If we take food products, the situation in general is absurd. The Ukrainian exports were lower than the Russian exports to Ukraine and amounted to 150-170 million dollars which is somewhere 3-4% of turnover."

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine responded with sanctions. The expert does not exclude the possibility that Belarus will be the mutual re-export state, "Russian goods will go from Belarus to Ukraine and vice versa. The way it is already happening between Russia and the EU, continues the expert of the Ukrainian think tank. - I understand that the Belarusian authorities would not want to lose the Ukrainian market, as Belarus has a trade surplus with Ukraine. But this would very much interest Russia to further tie Belarus to itself and provide a nasty blow to Ukraine".

However, Boris Kushniruk is sure that the influx of Belarusian goods to Ukraine should not be expected either. Moreover, after some time, Ukraine will start to pass various technical regulations of the European Union. It is likely that the Belarusian goods simply will not meet them. This unexpected problem may also arise.