Belarus - Higher duties on foreign cars will attract investors to Belarus

No investor will come to the automobile market (motor-car production is impossible without investments) with a low level of tariff protection and a 10-million population only, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov said in an interview to the STV TV Channel on 13 December.

In his words, on 1 January 2010 Belarus will get a higher tariff protection and a market with 150 million people. That will surely create favorable conditions for investors who are ready to set up motor-car production.

Andrei Kobyakov acknowledges that the unification of tariffs on the import of cars will leave a considerable impact on Belarusians. "Belarus tried to preserve the duties that are currently in force in the country. New duties, however, have their advantages. There will be more opportunities for our goods to enter the Customs Union common market," he noted.

"The Belarusian side has not simply agreed to compromise. Russian and Kazakh partners agreed to increase the customs duties on the Belarusian trucks, tractors, buses and other commodities which are exported to those countries," he said.

Andrei Kobyakov paid attention to the fact that the integration process is meant for faster and more efficient development of the economies of the countries. "For Belarus it is, first of all, preservation and increase of its market," he stressed.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Customs Union is the market of around 150 million people. This is a blessing from the point of view of the prospects of higher growth, wages and better labour and living conditions. The Customs Union looks set to get transformed into the single economic space which is a higher level of economic integration.

Andrei Kobyakov also noted that for Belarus the process of adjusting the customs tariffs has been painless and almost unnoticeable, but for several tariffs. The tariffs in Belarus and Russia have been unified by 95% while those in Kazakhstan and Russia only by 38%. For Kazakhstan the unification is not an easy job, as it has to raise the tariffs as regards 5,100 positions.

We believe we have managed to reach an agreement on customs tariffs. This meets our economic interests and guarantees that our partners will always take into account the opinion of the Belarusian side while introducing new proposals on customs tariffs," the Vice-Premier said.

Speaking about possible clashes in the future, Andrei Kobyakov said that there is no panacea here; they have disputes in the European Union too. "There will be always the conflict of interests of partners. But it is important that in the Customs Union and the single economic space we are developing a platform to regulate the problems on the basis of single principles," Andrei Kobyakov said.


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