Belarus' joining the Customs Union was a tactical manoeuvre, which gives the country time to redistribute the energy flows. Sergei Chaly, Belarusian economist, independent financial analyst, informed on it.
According to the economist, Belarus is making all efforts to acquire energy independence from Russia and strives to integrate into the energy map of Europe. The expert believes, that it was one of the reasons for Belarus to join the Customs Union, but the CU gives the country not only the benefits.
According to the expert, because of Belarus’ CU joining imports can decrease by one billion dollars and some foreign goods and products can increase significantly in price, «European Radio for Belarus» informs.
At the same time, the expert said, the introduction of a unified customs tariff will benefit the exports of light industry, agriculture, dairy and meat industries. Most likely, the share of exports of these products in Russia will increase, as the «external» duties on these goods are increasing, it will be more expensive to import them to Belarus, Sergei Chaly said.
Accordingly, the prices for the imported products will increase. «If we consider the introduction of average tariffs and start from the elasticity of import costs, it is expected that imports in Belarus will decrease by about one billion dollars, or about 8%», Sergei Chaly said.
Mainly it will happen because of the decrease of car import, according to the financial analyst. According to various forecasts it will fall to 4-7 times. It should be noted that almost a quarter of the customs duties in Belarus accounted for the import of cars. Thus, on the one hand, import decreases and domestic industry is stimulated, on the other tariff revenues in the budget are reduced. After all, when signing the CU documents Belarus failed to advance in them what it wanted. And the Russian export duties on oil and oil products remained.
Also Sergei Chaly noted that the CU would complicate for Belarusian enterprises competition in the Russian market, despite the fact that the huge CU market is formally opened for Belarusian products.
«Our government has the illusions that Belarus will be again an assembly shop of the large territories of the Customs Union. They say, that the western investors can be attracted by the fact that the products manufactured here will be duty-free trading on almost all territory of the former Soviet Union. But I think that it’s unreal. In fact, as experience shows, the inter-state organization, built with the countries with such economies as ours, i.e. not the advanced industrial, and such that always develop, the most investments still goes to the countries with large economies», the expert expressed his opinion.
«It is clear that such alliances do not last long, because they do not harmonize the interests of member countries. I think that after everything that happened over the past year and a half, no one has any illusion that Russia is no longer an ally for Belarus. It seems, no one believes in creating a common free market zone and the fact that there can be some further integration. I believe that further integration is unlikely to happen», Sergei Chaly said.