Updated at 15:34,14-12-2017

Belarus will lose millions of dollars because of Ukraines "special" import duties

Maryna NOSAVA, Naviny.by

Ukraine has imposed "special" import duties on milk and dairy products, confectionery and beer, incandescent light bulbs, fertilizers, refrigerators and tires from Belarus.

An inter-agency commission for international trade has imposed a 55.29-percent duty on milk, cream, yoghurt, kefir, butter as well as sugar confections, chocolate and flour confections; incandescent light bulbs, mineral or chemical fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potash the Ukrainian governments daily newspaper Uryadovy Kuryer reported on July 16. The rate of duty on Belarusian-made malt beer will be 60.05 percent. The import duty will be 60.05 percent for tires and between 55.29 and 60.05 percent for refrigerators.

The duties will remain in effect until December 31, 2016.

By its June 1 directive, the Council of Ministers of Belarus made imports of confectionery and some types of pastas from countries outside the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia subject to licensing. To obtain a license, importers have to sign agreements on the minimum prices of the goods with Belarusian authorities.

Ukrainian candy industry association Ukrkondprom condemned the directive as discriminatory and called on the Ukrainian government to respond in kind.

On May 1, Belarus introduced the licensing requirement for Ukrainian beer.

As of July 8, the Belarusian State Food Industry Concern (Beldzyarzhkharchpram) had signed 98 agreements on the import of beer and 35 agreements on the import of confectionery, including from Ukraine.

Belarus will lose millions of US dollars because of Ukraines decision to impose "special" import duties on Belarusian goods, economist Barys Zhaliba told opposition news website charter97.org.

The Belarusian government was the first one to put up barriers to Ukrainian products, and Ukraine has responded symmetrically, Dr. Zhaliba said. Ukraine has made it clear that it will continue its tough policy as long as its economy can afford it, and that Minsk should not toe Moscows line, he said.

After all, it has recently been announced that Lukashenka and Nazarbayev have rejected Russias invitation to impose prohibitive duties on all Ukrainian goods like the Russian Federation, Dr. Zhaliba said. And Moscow declared that it would do this alone. But if such a trade war is unfolding, I think that Russia still puts pressure on the Belarusian government and Lukashenka through other channels so that he sets up different kinds of barriers to Ukrainian imports.

Dr. Zhaliba warned that the conflict would damage both Kyiv and Minsk. Ukraine is Belarus second largest trading partner, with trade between the two countries totaling about $6.2 billion last year, he said. Belarus losses will definitely be in the millions of dollars and may even reach tens of millions, he said.