Belarus exports increase despite sanctions

Out of the EU countries, Poland and the Netherlands are the ones that Belarus trades the most with /
Out of the EU countries, Poland and the Netherlands are the ones that Belarus trades the most with /

Economy experts forecast that Belarus will be ending this year with positive GDP growth, thanks to the "foreign trade miracle," with Europe playing a significant role.

Despite the sanctions, Europeans are in no hurry to sever the trade bonds with Belarus. When the US sanctions against the nine state-owned companies and the EU sectoral sanctions came into effect last June, 23.2% of Belarusian export went to Europe.

Euroradio has found out who buys what from the sanctioned Belarus.


Traditionally, Russia gets the most significant part of our trade. According to the Belarusian National Statistic Committee (BNSC), from June to September 2021, Belarus exported $13.6bn worth of goods and 41.5% of them to Russia.

Since the BNSC chose to specify most of the goods, we can see what Belarus sold: mainly dairy products and transportation.


13.7% of Belarus' export went to Ukraine, but only a quarter of that number is on open access. The list includes woodworking products, dairy, and solvents. Judging by the information presented by the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, the unspecified supplies are, for the most part, petrochemical products.


Европа, США и “страна неизвестна”: с кем торгует Беларусь под санкциями
Trading with the EU in 2021 has helped Belarus significantly / Reuters

Poland, the third biggest trading partner of Belarus, follows far behind Russia and Ukraine, with only 5.5% of export in the months following the sanctions rollout. The National Statistic Committee covered up the fifth part of the goods being exported to Poland.

It means, then, that Poland is now buying the sanctioned products. It is possible because the sanctions do not apply to the current contracts, including those dealing with potassium or petroleum products.

For Poland itself, though, Belarus is not a critically important trading partner. As Łukasz Ambroziak, an analyst for the Polish Economic Institute, says Belarus was only the 35th biggest exporter to Poland and the 26th most significant trade area at the end of a January- August period.


Another 5.5% of goods went to the Netherlands, and the open sources list only 13% of it. Belarus is likely selling petroleum products since the Netherlands is a massive transit hub for this category. Besides, last year it was the third biggest trade area for Belarusian petrochemicals.


Germany rounds out the top five consumers of Belarusian goods with 4.6% of export. More than half of it is classified. Most of it is probably the Belarusian-produced oil since that is what we've been selling to Germany over the past few years. There were hardly any other significant sanctioned goods supplies during that time.

Other significant exports to Germany are furniture and woodworking products.


Lithuania is Belarus's 6th most significant trade partner with a 3.9% share of exports in the June – September period. One-seventh of all exported goods is classified information.

Европа, США и “страна неизвестна”: с кем торгует Беларусь под санкциями
Belarus supplies the unknown country solely with alcohol, perfumes, and sanctioned goods / Reuters

The information on where almost 2.4% of Belarusian export goes is classified. The 7th biggest buyer is 'an unknown country,' the Belarusian National Statistic Committee reports. 95% of exports are hidden. We only know that it's not one of the Commonwealth of Independent States countries. The BNSC references those as "an unknown CIS country."

The accessible list of items sold included perfumes and alcohol.

Next biggest trade partners became Kazakhstan (2.4%), China (1.8%), USA (1.6%), Latvia (1.6%) and Brazil (1.5%).

In 2022, the "foreign trade miracle" will turn into nothing. The high EU rate in Belarusian exports will decrease significantly since the contracts for the sanctioned goods will expire. BEROC's economists give an estimate of 10% down in GDP because of the sanctions.

Furthermore, on November 15th, the EU foreign ministers supported the 5th sanctions package against Belarus. The sanctions target between 30 and 40 physical and legal entities.

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