Belarusian FM: we are not planning political integration with Russia
In-depth economic cooperation is possible, but Belarus’s sovereignty will not be sacrificed, said Vladimir Makei
Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has named obstacles to the integration of Russia and Belarus, noting they can be eliminated by December 8, when the presidents of Belarus and Russia intend to sign an economic integration program, the Moscow Times reports.
Here are the main problems in Belarusian-Russian economic relations from the point of view of the minister:
Starting January 2019, a decrease in Russian duties on oil and oil products has begun. Within six years, they will drop from the current 30 percent to zero. At the same time, the tax on the extraction of minerals will increase.
As a result of the reform, the price of oil for Belarus will rise to world levels. According to forecasts, in six years Belarus’s losses will amount to more than $10.5 billion.
Now Minsk is buying gas for $127 per thousand cubic meters. Belarusian authorities have repeatedly stated that they are counting on receiving the price at which gas is received by the Smolensk region of Russia. That is about $70 per thousand cubic meters. Reducing the price of Russian gas may be one of the conditions on which Minsk agrees to sign a document on economic integration.
Moscow has repeatedly accused Minsk of importing Western goods from Belarus into Russia under the guise of Belarusian goods, against which sanctions are in force in the country.
However, Vladimir Makei emphasized that the development of economic relations does not mean that Belarus intends to give up its sovereignty, that the deal is not about political integration of the two countries or the creation of a single currency.