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Opinions & Interviews

7 Dec 2018

Belarus repeats call for equal business operation terms in EAEU

Belarus repeats call for equal business operation terms in EAEU

MOSCOW, 7 December (BelTA) – Belarus needs equal conditions for doing business instead of low prices for Russian natural gas. Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Igor Petrishenko made the statement on 7 December while talking about the debate witnessed by the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in St Petersburg the day before, BelTA has learned.

According to the source, during the summit in St Petersburg the Eurasian Economic Union heads of state discussed issues, which could not have been resolved at a lower level – the level of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission, and the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council.

“The establishment of the common market of natural gas, the common market of oil and oil products is a hot topic,” said Igor Petrishenko. “Without them, as the Belarusian head of state stressed, the full-scale operation of the Eurasian Economic Union is impossible. Most notably approaches to setting prices on the gas market. We believe we don’t need low prices. We’ve always spoken in favor of enabling equal conditions for commercial entities. In other words we would like to work in a common competitive environment with equal terms for commercial entities of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, or Kyrgyzstan.”

The deputy prime minister stated that high prices for energy resources affect the price for electricity, which Belarusian companies use, resulting in higher prime costs of their products. “And we will be forced to sell our tractors, MAZ trucks and buses, agricultural machines at a higher price,” noted Igor Petrishenko. “Yesterday the Belarus president stressed that our end product that we make is a Belarusian-Russian product, a Belarusian-Kazakh product, because it contains contributions from all the EAEU member states, but most of all, Russia. Components from Russia represent up to 70% in some groups of merchandise. In essence many Russian companies are part of manufacturing cooperation schemes. Respectively, if prices are high, this product will not be competitive.”

Igor Petrishenko said that tariffs on natural gas transportation are the key issue with regard to the common gas market, which experts have been unable to fully agree yet. Transportation makes up over 70% of the end price for gas. However, some partners in the Eurasian Economic Union suggest leaving the matter at the national level. “This matter should be regulated. We should move on in order to come up with coordinated approaches instead of leaving it at the national level,” Igor Petrishenko is convinced. “As part of the common gas market we should get rid of the terms ‘exporter’ and ‘importer’ from the point of view of applying them to all the companies operating in the Eurasian Economic Union. It is necessary to come to terms on this key parameter.”

Igor Petrishenko said that as a result of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council session the presidents gave instructions to align conditions for commercial entities. “Moreover, the Russian president said: ‘Yes, we should move on.’ The Belarus president also said that moving on is the key. Moving on is the key idea. We are satisfied such a decision has been made,” said Igor Petrishenko.

The official stressed that a common natural gas market will be created in the Eurasian Economic Union by 2025. He specified that the market will not become available in one instant. It will be established step by step. At the same time Igor Petrishenko stated that Belarus is in favor of setting up common markets of energy resources in the Eurasian Economic Union as fast as possible. “And we are not going to abandon this idea of ours,” he noted.


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