Kiev’s plans to limit the import of Belarusian gasoline can lead to a serious aggravation of the relations.
It is the opinion of the BISS experts, who released a Belarusian foreign policy index covering the period of September-October 2012, Narodnaya Volia reports.
We would remind that on 27 September the Minister of Energy and Mining of Ukraine Youry Boika stated that starting from 1 December duties on imported oil products will be introduced in Ukraine. This means a serious blow to the import of gasoline from Belarus, which accounts for 77% of all Belarusian export to Ukraine.
However there is no clarity as to the procedure of the duty introduction. In order for that to happen a special investigation by a inter department commission must be carried out based on a complaint of one of Ukrainian refineries claiming unprofitability in the current conditions, the BISS experts state. The deputy Minister of Economy Uladzimir Makuha, who is a member of the commission, did not specify, when the decision about having or refusing to have a special investigation.
In the opinion of Ukrainian experts, in such short terms the commission will simply not be able to carry out an investigation and introduce the duties. That is why the 1st of December cannot be a real date for the price increase. At the same time Makuha has not ruled out a possibility of introducing the duties ahead of schedule.
Ukrainian experts took this government’s initiative rather critically. Thus, the president of the association “Union of Ukraine’s oil traders” Leanid Kasianchuk noted: “The consequences of the introduction of the duties will be higher gasoline prices, it is the monopolization of the market, it is total dependence on Russian oil. Because it is impossible to compete with Russian oil with the prices which are there in the world market. For that matter apart from a gas needle we are going to be dependent on an oil needle too”.
Thus, the plans announced by Boika cannot so far be considered final. Such a decision has a number of opponents within the government as well as within the serious business elites. However, unlike with the previous attempts to stop the import of Belarusian gasoline, this time the so-called “family” is behind the initiative (an oligarchic group headed by the president Yanukovich’s elder son). The group intends to take the Ukrainian refinery industry under its control.