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Concessions and restrictions. What have Putin and Lukashenka agreed in Mahilou?


On 12 October, the eastern Belarusian city of Mahilou hosted the 5th Forum of Regions [of Belarus and Russia] attended by Presidents Aliaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. Setting the scene for the summit, Russin and Belarusian authorties had exchanged concessions, restrctions and permits.

Aliaksandr Lukashenka's concession was merely symbolic when he stated when talking to Putin that Mahilou was not only a Belarusian but maybe 'rather a Russian city.' He definitely pleased the ego of the Russian guests although several days before the summit he he had told Russian Ambassador Babich that Belarus was an independent state.

The economic results of the talks are mixed. When the summit was in full wing, Belarus finally received the delayed tranche of the loan from the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development. Belarus also received the money for the customs duties. However, what lies ahead is the so called Russia's 'tax maneuver' in the energy sector. The 'maneuver' boils down to gradually bringing the cost of duties for oil extraction to zero and raising the price of crude at the domestic market. To put it simply, Belarus' losses are estimated at $2 billion caused by the higher crude oil prices.

Belarus gets money from customs duties

Yesterday, Belarus finally received $263 million in customs duties from Russia. the payment had been delayed since July but the money was wired yesterday, said Belarus Deputy Prime Minister Ihar Lyashenka.

Russia bans unlimited shipments of dark oil products to Belarus from 1 November

An agreement was signed to introduce a ban on the shipment of dark oil products to Belarus and diesel fuel effective from 1 November 2018. The deal however retains the shipment of some refined products not produced in Belarus. Also allowed are shipments an insignificant amount of benzene components used in the petrochemical industry.

Russia to incease shipments of oil products to Belarus by 10% in 2019

Belarus has agreed that Russia will increase shipments of refined products for Belarusian petrochemical industry by 10% in 2019. "It will allow us to load the capacity of our enterprises and keep the required production pace," Belarus' Deputy Prime Minister Ihar Lyashenka said.

Belarus has recieved a sixth tranche from Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development.

$263 million is not the only money Belarus has received from Belarus. On the eve of Putin's visit, a sixth tranche of the loan from the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development was finally wired іn amount of $200 million. Together with the previous tranches, Belarus has already received $1.8 billion from the $2 billion loan. The credit is envisaged to support the Program of Reforms in Belarus.

Discussions on the compensation of losses due to Russia's 'tax maneuver' will begin

Beginning from 1 November, the sides will begin discussions on how to compensate for Belarusian economy due to the tax maneuever in Russia's oil sector. The first meeting is planned to take place at the level of Deputy Prime Ministers. After Russia completes its tax maneuver, oil will be shipped to Belarus without compensations. The amount of losses for Belarus is estimated at $2 billion. Russia says it awiats propositions on the amount of compensation from Belarus.

Russia lifts ban on the import of foodstuffs from five Belarusian enterprises

Rosselkhoznadzor has decided to life the ban on the import of foodstuffs from five Belarusian enterprises. The move happened after the talks between Rosselkhoznadzor officials with the deputy agriculture minister and the head of food control authority Ivan Smilgen.

Belarus, Russia sign new deals on the volume of foodstuffs supplies to Russia

Agriculture ministries of the two countries have agreed that in 2019 Belarus will have grown the supplies of meat and dairy products to Russia. Belarus' exports of meat products will be increased up to 320 000 tons or 11% up against 2018. The exports of dairy products will grow 2.6% up to 3.7 million tons. The protocols for the next year were signed by Belarusian Deputy Agriculture Minister Leanid Zayats and  Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Ivan Lebedev.

Russia will lend money to Belarus to pay off the previous debt

In 2019, Russia will consider lending money to Belarus to re-finance the previously issued loan at $630 million.

According to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Belarusians asked $1 billion from Russia but Moscow will give money only to re-finance its previous loans.