The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic seriously affected the trade between Ukraine and Belarus, and in the first five months of this year, trade between the countries amounted to $1.675 billion, a decrease of 22.8% compared to the same period last year, Belarussian Ambassador to Ukraine Igor Sokol has said. “I would like the turnover to be bigger, but the situation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is a circumstance that does not depend on you or on us, and it seriously affected the turnover between Ukraine and Belarus. In the first five months of this year, our turnover amounted to $1.675 billion. Belarus exported to Ukraine [goods worth] $1.078 billion, and Ukraine exported to Belarus – $597 million. According to our statistics, compared with the same period last year, there is a decrease in trade by 22.8%,” he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
According to the ambassador, personal contacts and logistics were interrupted.
“I have to say that Ukraine’s use of restrictive measures in relation to our products (cement, gas concrete block) also had a negative impact on the volume of mutual trade,” Sokol said.
The diplomat said that Ukraine is a significant, strategic trade and economic partner for Belarus.
“Ukraine is now in second place, but God willing that someday it will become our first trade and economic partner. Among Ukraine’s trade partners, Belarus is fourth along with such developed and economically strong states as Germanyвз. That says a lot,” he added.
Sokol also recalled that the Ukrainian-Belarusian trade is estimated in billions of U.S. dollars, and over the past year amounted to $5.8 billion.
“Now the task in the mutual trade turnover of our countries is to restore those positions that existed before the pandemic, to preserve everything that was о up in previous years,” he said.
At the same time, the ambassador said that Ukraine and Belarus did not stop working on the bilateral trade and economic track, even during the pandemic.
“Of course, at the initial stage in March-April, diplomats did not go anywhere, but gradually the work comes to life both in our country and in Ukraine. Our workers, who are involved in various projects in Ukraine, come to your country, our equipment arrives. Yesterday I was in Zhytomyr and participated in the transfer of five new trolleybuses for the city. Last week I participated in the launch of trolleybuses manufactured jointly by Ukraine and Belarus for Kryvy Rih,” he said.
Umanpyvo (Uman beer) LLC (Uman, Cherkasy region), the local producer of beer and soft drinks, will begin exporting its products to Belarus, and the first batch of 21.5 tonnes of products will be delivered in April.
“The first 21.5 tonnes of products will be delivered in April. We are constantly expanding the geography of exports. However, we only cooperate with partners who do not require changes in the recipe and increase expiry date of our products, as this contradicts the principles of Umanpyvo,” the company reported in a press release, citing the company’s CEO Ihor Kysil.
According to the company, Umanpyvo is trying to find new partners, negotiate, adapt packaging to the requirements of legislation of specific countries, and obtain all the necessary certificates during the quarantine period because of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Now the company is negotiating with potential new partners from Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, Armenia, Germany, the United States, Canada, and also plans to expand its participation in the markets of Poland and Israel.
Umanpyvo representatives said that the company began to enter foreign markets in 2018. During this time, point deliveries were provided to ten countries, as well as regular export to Poland and Israel.
Umanpyvo (Uman beer) is a Ukrainian local producer of beer, cider and soft drinks with a closed production cycle.
Uman Brewery was founded in 1878.
Crude oil transit by pipelines across Ukraine to European countries and Belarus grew by 1.3% in January-March 2020 or by 44,600 tonnes year-over-year, to 3.448 million tonnes, according to information from JSC Ukrtransnafta.
The volume of crude oil transportation to oil refineries in January-March 2020 amounted to 592,100 tonnes, which is 17.2% (86,900 tonnes) more than in the same period last year, including oil transportation by the Odesa-Kremenchuk line amounted to 229,900 tonnes.
Thus, in the first three months of this year, the share of transit volume in the total transportation of crude oil (4.04 tonnes) amounted to 85.3%, the share of supplies to the country’s refineries – 14.7%.
In March 2020, crude oil transit through Ukraine by pipeline grew by 16.2% (by 194,500 tonnes) compared to the same month of 2019, to 1.396 million tonnes, while pumping to the country’s refineries increased 5.7% (10,500 tonnes), to 196,300 tonnes.
The Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade (ICIT) has decided to introduce anti-dumping duties on the import into Ukraine of aerated concrete blocks originating from Belarus.
“The final anti-dumping measures are applied for a period of five years by introducing the charging of the final anti-dumping duty at a rate of 34.19%,” the commission said in the Uriadovy Kurier newspaper on February 25, 2020, which the agency received yesterday.
The decision concerns building blocks from porous structural and heat-insulating concrete according to tariff heading 6810 11 originating from Belarus.
The final anti-dumping duty is charged as a percentage of the customs value of goods.
The Commission’s decision shall enter into force in 30 days from the date of its publication.
According to the State Statistics Service, in 2019, imports of building blocks for the specified tariff heading from Belarus amounted to 338,400 tonnes for $13.9 million, while exports to the country amounted to 858 tonnes for $273,000.
In general, Ukraine imported of such goods for $14.6 million and exported for $2.3 million in 2019.
The volume of container transportation by Viking combined transport train in January 2020 increased 21% compared with January 2019, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine has said in a statement. Ukraine and Lithuania are organizing container transportation by the Lithuania-Belarus-Ukraine Containerships train.
“Today, cooperation between Ukraine and Lithuania in the field of transport infrastructure is developing in an upward direction, including in the field of international freight transportation by rail. The Viking train and the Containerships Train are important international logistics projects, the successful implementation of which opens up prospects for attracting additional freight flows for both countries,” Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Vladyslav Krykliy said during a meeting in Poland at Europe of the Carpathians International Conference held on February 21-22.
The ministry said that Lithuania is a strategically important partner of Ukraine for updating the national infrastructure and realizing the transit potential in the Black Sea-Baltic Sea traffic.
Minister of Transport and Communications of Lithuania Jaroslav Narkevič, in turn, noted the importance of further successful cooperation in the field of transport infrastructure for Ukrainian-Lithuanian economic relations and reiterated the desire to develop and deepen bilateral relations.
In addition, the ministers of both countries discussed the state and prospects of development of Ukrainian-Lithuanian cooperation in the field of infrastructure and joint participation in international logistics projects.
“The parties are determined in every way to help remove barriers in international road transport. At the first stage, the issue of exchanging multiple transit permission is being worked out,” the Ukrainian ministry said in the statement.
The Viking combined transport train route passes through Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania and connects the chain of container and piggyback lines in the Baltic region with a similar system of the Black, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas. The total length of its route is 1,753 km.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharuk states that the idea of jointly hosting the Olympic Games with Belarus deserves in-depth study.
“In my opinion, this idea definitely deserves in-depth study. The government is now working to study this situation from different points of view and offer a concept to our partners if this initiative can be implemented in the near future,” Honcharuk said at a meeting of the organizing committee for preparation and participation of Ukrainian athletes in the Games of the ХХХII Olympic Games and the XVI Paralympic Games 2020 in Tokyo (Japan).
According to Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine Volodymyr Borodiansky, traditionally preparations for such large-scale sporting events are conducted during 5-10 years.
“We propose, in order to determine the possibility of creating a joint holding of such games with the Republic of Belarus, to study in detail the resources we have, the experience of Belarus, the experience of other countries in preparation,” he added.
Borodiansky invited the national Olympic committees to create a joint working group to study such opportunities.
As reported, in September 2019, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko stated that the republic could hold the Olympic Games together with the Russian Federation or Ukraine. “Of course, it’s difficult for us to compete with the giants, but we can hold the Olympics, for example, with the Ukrainians or the Russians,” he said.