The United States announced another set of economic sanctions targeting Belarusian state-owned companies. Embargo was imposed on Naftan refinery, fertilizer producer Grodon-Azot, a synthetic fiber factory Grodno-Khmivalanko and a car tires producer Belshyna. American citizens are forbidden to conduct any financial and trade transactions with the listed companies, and all their assets in American banks were frozen.
All four companies are part of Belnaftkhim corporation, which was subjected to sanctions in November 2007. The sanctions are meant to target persons and enterprises accused of violating human rights, political repressions and corruption.
US Treasury Department has extenuated sanctions against AAT Lakafarba and Plock-Szkolvalanko companies, which are also part of Belnaftkhim, in September 2008. The decision was valid until November 30th, 2010. A month later, in a response to brutal treatment of democratic opposition demonstration, the State Department announced visa ban for Belarusian officials and renewed the previous sanctions.
The Belnaftkhim press services claimed that American sanctions are just an act of unfair competition. The decision was also criticized by the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Andrei Savinykh, the MFA spokesperson, stressed that „the USA has lost their chance to prove their common sense and stop the confrontation“. Savinykh added that the imposed sanctions can harm American businessmen who cooperate with Belarusian producers, and that Belarusian side will respond adequately.