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Press Release- Embassy of Belarus : 01 July 2020

June 29, 2020


Belarus registers 61,790 coronavirus cases, 387 deaths as of Jun 29, 2020


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. Belarus registered 61,790 confirmed coronavirus cases as of June 29, 2020; 387 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.


45,213 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.


As reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 61,475 on the previous day; 383 patients died.


The Health Ministry reports 992,000 tests for the coronavirus infection as of June 29, 2020. End



EEC assigns high priority to setting up regional agency for combating grey certificates in EEU – minister


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) considers it important to establish a regional organization to combat grey certificates in the markets of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member states, EEC Minister in Charge of Technical Regulation Viktor Nazarenko said on June 26 at the fourth meeting of the council of heads of the EEU accreditation bodies.


“It is important to the EEU to establish a regional accreditation agency that would be able to admit partners in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) alongside EEU member states following mutual comparative assessments by accreditation bodies of the EEU members in 2021,” Nazarenko said.


He said that even amid the coronavirus pandemic, some bodies engaged in conformity assessment issue a huge number of certificates to foreign producers, and law enforcement turn a blind eye to this.


“We consider counteraction to ungrounded issue or registration of certificates of compliance with technical regulations to be of paramount importance,” Nazarenko said. Proposals for improvement will be considered in the second half of 2020.


The EEC also plans to expedite the adoption of a unified procedure for mutual comparative assessments to augment national accreditation systems and achieve equivalence of procedures applied by the member states. End



Belarus joins Registered Exporter system used by Norway and Switzerland


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. Belarus adopts the Registered Exporter system (REX) used by Norway and Switzerland as part of national tariff preferences, reads the commentary by the National Legal Internet Portal of Belarus to presidential decree No.236 of June 23, 2020 effective since June 26.


Decree No.236 is aimed at ensuring favourable terms for the export of commodities to the states that provide tariff preferences for goods originating from the Republic of Belarus.


To use the REX system, traders are to contact the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for obtaining the status of a registered exporter.


After that, the exporter will be able to independently notify of the Belarusian origin of goods in commercial papers that will be used in Norway and Switzerland to obtain tariff preferences for Belarusian goods.


“Earlier, Belarusian exporters needed certificates of origin for each exported consignment to apply for tariff preferences when importing Belarusian goods to Norway or Switzerland. The REX system will reduce the time and costs incurred by domestic exporters and generally facilitate exports of Belarusian goods to Norway and Switzerland,” says the press office of the State Customs Committee of Belarus. End



Draft ordinance on countering monopolization in trade under impact assessment – MART


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. The draft ordinance of the president of Belarus ‘On Counteracting Monopolization in Trade’ is undergoing impact assessment procedure, the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of Belarus (MART) reports.


The draft provides for additional regulation of the food retail market. At present, Belarus’ legislation does not define domination in the food retail market.


The draft defines a business entity engaged in retail trade in foods through retail chains or large stores, which accounts for over 15% of the national food retail turnover as occupying a dominant share of the food retail market.


The status of a dominant market entity will impart extra responsibilities and impose certain restrictions, such as a limit on bonuses from suppliers for such monopolists.


Currently, infrastructural restrictions limit the share of one outlet chain in the food products turnover to 20% within an oblast, Minsk city, cities of regional subordination, and districts. If this limit is exceeded, local authorities are to disapprove the placement of a trade outlet of such business entity. This regulation remains in the food market legislation.


Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade Vladimir Koltovich told reporters in June 2020 that the president of Belarus agreed to the MART’s proposal regarding new parameters for defining a market monopoly. Koltovich expected the ordinance to be issued in early 2021.


As reported, as part of the cooperation agreement signed on April 24, 2019, the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of Belarus and the International Finance Corporation started a pilot project to forecast impacts of the draft ordinance on countering monopolization in trade.


MART appointed and ad hoc group on March 25, 2019 to assess regulatory impacts of the draft ordinance. The group includes representatives of the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat), National Bank, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information, International Finance Corporation, and the academic community. The first meeting of the group was held on August 1, 2019. End



Nikolai Podguzov takes charge of Eurasian Development Bank


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) Council appointed Nikolai Podguzov chairman of the board on June 29, 2020.


Podguzov replaced by Andrei Belyaninov, who had been running the EDB since December 2017.


Podguzov graduated from St. Petersburg State Technical University in 1997 with a degree in applied mathematics and physics, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Foreign Ministry of Russia in 2000 with a degree in world economics.


He worked at the Ministry of Finance of Russia, the banking system and the executive office of the Russian government since 2000; deputy minister of economic development of Russia in 2013-2017; head of the Russian Post in 2017-2020; first deputy director general of Russian Post since February 2020.


The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is an international financial institution founded by Russia and Kazakhstan in January 2006 with the mission to facilitate the development of market economies, sustainable economic growth, and the expansion of mutual trade and other economic ties in its member states. The EDB charter capital totals US $7 billion. The bank’s member states are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. End



Monday forex session: ruble down 0.71% against dollar to Br2.4008/$1


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. Following the bidding at the single forex session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction, the Belarusian ruble stood at Br2.4008/$1 to the dollar on Jun 29, down 0.71% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.


Following the bidding at the single forex session on Monday, the ruble stood at Br2.7036/€1 to the euro, down 1.06%; at Br3.4306/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.52%.


As reported, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) on June 1, 2015 stopped the practice of fixing the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble to the basket of foreign currencies on a day-to-day basis and switched over to FX trading on the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction.


The parties taking part in continuous two-way auctions at the BCSE are free to make bids and offers during the entire auction period, however deals will be made if the FX trading system bridges bids with relevant offers.


The weighted average rate of the US dollar, the euro and the Russian ruble shall be the National Bank’s official exchange rate of the relevant currency for the day that follows the day of trading.


At the moment, the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble is pegged to the basket of foreign currencies, with the share of the Russian ruble standing at 50%, the US dollar – 30%, the euro – 20%. End



Belneftekhim companies report $2bn indebtedness to banks


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. The accumulated debt of enterprises subordinate to the state petrochemical concern Belneftekhim total over $2 billion, says Belneftekhim Vice Chair Svetlana Gurina.


“The total debt of the enterprises is over $2 billion. As the indebtedness under credits to finance investment operations is gradually decreasing, the proportion of the debt on loans taken to finance current operations in the total loan portfolio remains at around 67%,” Gurina says.


These are the funds borrowed for a short turnover period, which, in the face of falling product prices, are becoming increasingly difficult to repay and service. The share of revenues allocated for repayment averaged around 46% in 2019, and reached 61% in 2020.


“Therefore, the concern applies net cash flow from current operations as the main criterion for the assessment of production programs effectiveness and sales plans,” says Gurina, “Most enterprises meet effectiveness targets, thereby retaining the status of reliable borrowers.”


According to Gurina, Belneftekhim’s companies succeed in finding mutually acceptable solutions with lending banks on emerging issues and on optimization of terms of financing and refinancing.


As reported, Belneftekhim enterprises reduced exports of commodities in January-March 2020 by 55.8% year on year to $921.2 million, while the plan was to step up exports by 3.5%.


The Belarusian State Concern for Oil and Chemistry (Belneftekhim Concern) unites more than 60 chemical and petrochemical enterprises engaged in production, refining and transportation of crude oil, and oil products supplies, and units that ensure the functioning of petrochemical facilities and provide scientific backup services. The enterprises produce more than 500 types of commodities, including oil products, chemical fibres and threads, mineral fertilizers, tires, high-pressure polyethylene, fiberglass products, varnishes, paints, polyethylene and polypropylene pipes, etc. Nearly 70% of the products are exported to more than 100 countries. End



Belarus’ oil products export to Ukraine down 27.7% in Jan-Apr 2020 to 682,600 tonnes


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. Belarus reduced exports of oil products to Ukraine in January-April 2019 by 27.7% year on year to 682,600 tonnes, reads the official statistical report.


In monetary terms, the exports decreased by 32.8% on the year to $358.269 million.


The decrease was due to a considerable reduction in the processing of crude oil by the Belarusian oil refineries (Naftan OJSC, Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast, and Mozyr Refinery OJSC, Gomel Oblast) in the first half of the year due to Russian oil supply cuts caused by Belarus-Russia oil price disagreements.


The average export price of Belarusian oil products in Jan-Apr 2020 stood at $391 per tonne, down 19.5% year on year.


As reported, Belarus increased supplies of oil products to Ukraine in 2019 by 4.6% yoy to 3.301 million tonnes. In monetary terms, supplies decreased by 4.1% from 2018 to $2.006 billion. End



Fuel to be loaded into first reactor of Belarus’ NPP starting from August – Semashko


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. The loading of fuel into the reactor core will begin at the Belarusian nuclear power plant (Astravyets District, Grodno Oblast) in August 2020, says Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Russia Vladimir Semashko.


The Energy Ministry of Belarus announced the start-up of the reactor of the 1st power unit in July 2020. The ministry said energy would be supplied to the national grid starting from September or October. Nuclear fuel for the first power unit was delivered to the construction site on May 6. The commissioning of the second power unit is scheduled for 2021.


“We expect to begin loading the fuel into the first reactor in August. A physical launch will take place after that. It will be followed by a reactor power startup. The task is to get the first unit fully operational no later than Q1 2021,” BelTA state newswire quotes Semashko as saying.


Belarus’ first nuclear power plant in Ostrovets (a town in the Grodno Region also referred to as Astravyets) will have two units with a combined capacity of up to 2,400 megawatts, which are slated to be launched in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The Belarusian nuclear station’s design stems from the AES-2006 design developed by the St Petersburg-based institute Atomenergoproject, which is also the general contractor of the Belarusian project. End



Belarus’ coal import from Russia down 41.7% in Jan-Apr 2020 to 472,400 tonnes


MINSK, June 29 – PrimePress. Belarus reduced the import of coal from the Russian Federation in Jan-Apr 2020 by 41.7% year on year to 472,400 tonnes, the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat) reports.


In monetary terms, the import of coal from Russia in Jan-Apr 2020 dropped by 57.9% on the year to $25.652 million.


Belarus’ total import of coal decreased in Jan-Apr 2020 by 29.2% yoy to 630,500 tonnes, in monetary terms – by 53.6% to $30.553 million.


Belarus does not mine coal.


The export of coal from Belarus decreased in Jan-Apr 2020 by 31.7% yoy to 511,600 tonnes, in monetary terms – by 44% to $36.26 million.


As reported, Belarus increased the import of coal from Russia by 172% year on year in 2019 to 3.468 million tonnes worth $205.95 million (up 135%). The average price of coal imported from Russia in 2019 stood at $59.3 per tonne, down 13.4% year on year. End



Belarus lifts coronavirus-related restrictions for transit freight carriers July 1, 2020


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. On July 1, 2020, Belarus will lift the restrictions imposed on international transit freight forwarders due to the spread of the coronavirus infection, as per government resolution No.372 of June 26, 2020, the press office of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Belarus reports.


Drivers will no longer be required to only use listed roads, which accommodate parking, rest and catering facilities and filling stations. The requirement to leave the country on the shortest route no later than the day following the day of entry into Belarus is also abolished together with the requirement to place navigation seals on trucks.


As reported, the Russian Association of International Road Carriers (ASMAP) addressed the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation in late May 2020 requesting a response to the fine imposed on Russian road carriers by Belarus for violations of transit rules (40,000 Russian rubles in equivalent). ASMAP stated, citing freight carriers that the requirements could not be met, Belarus has few parking spaces and their areas are insufficient. Besides, border jams make it impossible to meet the transit deadline. ASMAP asked Secretary of State of the Belarus-Russia Union State Grigory Rapota in mid-June to apply to the government of Belarus in order to expedite the lifting of the transit restrictions for Russian road carriers. The Association pointed to the fact that Belarus did not apply large-scale quarantine measures in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, did not shut down industrial enterprises, educational and preschool institutions, did not cancel social, entertainment and sporting events, and did not limit in any way the transportation of goods to the republic. Strict restrictions are only imposed on the transit of vehicles engaged in international road transportation. End



NBB’s currency rates as of Jun 30, 2020


MINSK, Jun 29 – PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jun 29, 2020 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jun 30, 2020.


  Currency   Br
1 U.S. DOLLAR USD 2.4008
1 EURO EUR 2.7036
10,0000 IRANIAN RIAL IRR 5.7162
10 Moldovan Leu MDL 1.3958
1 New Zealand Dollar NZD 1.5456
1 SDR (Special Drawing Rights) XDR 3.3091
100 KIRGHIZ SOM KGS 3.1812
1,000 KAZAKH TENGE KZT 5.9308
100 CZECH KORUNA CZK 10.1037


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