31 March 2023, Friday, 0:28
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

No Need To Talk About Diversification, Economist Says

No Need To Talk About Diversification, Economist Says

There will be no major changes in terms of foreign trade in 2023.

Last year, Belarus lost billions of dollars of exports due to the termination of trade with Ukraine.

Belarus strongly depended on this trade; no other country accounted for more than 10% of exports to Ukraine, experts say.

Filin discussed with economist Leu Marholin whether Belarus will be able to compensate for these losses in the new year.

- We can't talk about diversification. All Western Europe and Ukraine, as well as the Baltic States, are practically lost as foreign trade partners because of the sanctions.

Moreover, if sanctions against Russia were mainly aimed at restricting imports into the country, the sanctions against Belarus were aimed at exports from Belarus. These are petroleum products and oil, potash fertilizers, tires, metal, and so on. These are almost all major items of Belarusian exports.

Some part has been compensated. On the one hand, the export is redirected to Russia or via Russia. Although, it was not quite favorable from the logistical point of view. It is more expensive and, accordingly, makes the products less competitive, but one managed to do something. And here we must give credit to the Belarusian government, which sought to find some solutions.

Can we expect that the situation will improve significantly in 2023? Certainly not. One needs some conditions for progress. If we knew that the sanctions would be lifted in 2023, or that the war in Ukraine would end this year... But this will not happen for obvious reasons, and we cannot expect the situation to change in any way.

I assume that there will be further work on new export routes, new customers, and logistic chains. Maybe we will be able to slightly strengthen the position in this regard.

On the other hand, something may play into the negative. The sanctions against Russian oil have come into force, while sanctions against Russian oil products will come into force in February. Russia's opportunities may diminish. Accordingly, it may be a minus for the Belarusian economy.

So there will definitely be no major changes in relation to foreign trade in 2023.

As Charter97.org earlier reported, coordinator of the European Belarus campaign Dzmitry Bandarenka called the economic disaster in Belarus the major event of 2022.