Updated at 23:19,25-10-2016

"If it was 1937, several people could be shot"

07-06-2012, 13:35
Economist Michael Zaleski

In Moscow, they couldn't shut their eyes to the fact, that imports of Russian oil to Belarus increased in recent years at several times, including in 2012 - at four times.

There were suspicions that Minsk is engaged in re-export of Russian hydrocarbons, hidden under the guise of thinners and solvents, in order to avoid paying the export duty to the Russian budget.

"We understand that Belarus imports more than it needs for domestic consumption. Noticed that in the reporting of Customs Union solvents and thinners appeared, which are exempt from taxes. Last year there were two million tons", said at a press conference in Minsk Russian ambassador Alexander Surikov.

According to the ambassador, these issues are now examined by corresponding structures in Russia.

"For sure it will be discussed with the Belarusian side to avoid infringements of re-exports. Re-export is possible, but please pay the fee", said the diplomat. However, the Belarusian experts believe this investigation will end in vain, as the re-export of petroleum products is extremely difficult to prove.

"One can suspect, but to prove is difficult. After all, Belarusian side has officially stated there is no re-export. The government has officially declared that Belarus is engaged in deeper processing of petroleum products, adding a value-added tax - there is a new product manufactured in Belarus. But the added value - it is not the re-export in pure form. Does Russia want to do it, will it do it, and what sanctions are possible in case of evidence of re-exports - questions to the Russian side. This problem has surfaced not for the first time. If Russian Federation knows the facts of re-export, why they did not respond until now? After all, the first half is ending", the expert of the analytical weekly "Belarusians and the Market" Tatiana Manyanok commented on the situation to UDF.BY.

A similar view was expressed by economist Michael Zaleski:

"If it was 1937, it would be possible to shoot several people. In order to talk about it, you need to have the information. And there is no information. I treat the statements of Mr. Surikov with caution - he is the repeater, he transmits a lot, depending on the political moods", said the expert to UDF.BY.

We remind, in accordance with the agreements Belarus in exchange for duty-free oil and petroleum products shall transfer to the Russian budget duties on exports of petroleum products outside the Customs Union. Last year, Russia in the form of oil duties got more than $3 billion.

However, the entire proceeds from exports of thinners and solvents remains in Belarus, the Belarusian side does not pay fees in the Russian budget.

According to the expert of the Russian Institute "Energy and Finance" Sergei Agibalov in the past year because of re-exports by Belarus of Russian oil products under the guise of thinners and solvents Russia has missed at least $700 million.

"This year, the loss of the Russian government against non-payment of fees can reach $2 billion, it's already quite a big sum for Russia", the expert said in an interview with BelaPAN.