Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Russia is paying Belarus for ratifying Eurasian Economic Union treaty


Russias decision to allow Belarus to keep revenues from export duties on petroleum products is its payment for the ratification of a treaty on the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union, Heorhiy Hryts, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Scientific and Industrial Association, told BelaPAN on Wednesday.

Who said that blackmailing at the state level doesnt work? Mr. Hryts said. Everything is clear with 2015, but this grace period will end by 2017. If Russia does not make good on its promise to quit the World Trade Organization, it will have to raise energy prices to their level for Western countries. Thus, Belarus will have this source of revenues for two or three more years.

If the situation has not changed, the export duty revenues will be used to repay Belarus foreign state debt, as Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said, Mr. Hryts said. After all, the amount of debt is close to the critical level and cannot be allowed to increase under Belarus national security concept, he said. At the same time, Belarus entered a three-year period of peak debt payments in 2013 and will be required to repay $4 billion to foreign lenders next year, which means that it cannot do without loans, Mr. Hryts said.

Belarus was initially allowed to keep a total of $1.5 billion in export duty revenues in 2015 while transferring the remaining amount to the Russian treasury, but a decision has now been made that Minsk will not have to share the revenues with Russia, at least not in 2015, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters in Novosibirsk on Tuesday.

Mr. Dvorkovich announced on Tuesday that Russia and Belarus had agreed on a mechanism to compensate Minsk for Russias planned tax move.

Russia plans to sharply raise its tax on the extraction of natural resources and simultaneously cut the rate of export duty on oil and petroleum products in 2015 and 2016.

Speaking after a meeting between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart, Mikhail Myasnikovich, in Russias Black Sea coastal resort of Sochi, Mr. Dvorkovich said that the two countries had reached agreement on the distribution of revenues from export duties on petroleum products made from Russian crude oil in 2015.

On October 9, one day before the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia are scheduled to meet in Minsk to discuss the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union, the House of Representatives will consider the ratification bill for the Treaty on the Formation of the Eurasian Economic Union.

House of Representatives Chairperson Uladzimir Andreychanka indicated that the ratification of the agreement could be delayed until Moscow agreed to compensate Minsk for the planned tax move.