‘Normal business practice’ or too much ado for Belarusian shrimps?

The share of Belarus’ exports to Russia is declining, Alyaksei Bahdanau, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, says.

“Eight months into the current year, the volume of export of agricultural products from Belarus to Russia has been down by 4% if compared to 2016. Last year, there was also a 2% skid if compared to 2015,” the official said.

Bahdanau denied the charges of Belarus’ re-exporting sanctioned food to Russia.

“We have been selling shrimps and herrings to Russia since the times of the Soviet Union” (Alyaksandr Lukashenka)

“The issue of Belarusian shrimps has been overblown without reason. Before introducing sanctions, we supplied fish, vegetables and mushrooms to Russia and other CIS countries. Now there are 11 certified companies to deliver food products, including shrimps, fish and seafood to the European Union. Belarus imports shrimps from a number of countries, products of which do meet veterinary standards. After receiving primary products, we process them and then release new products. Its customs code is changed, and then we can export shrimps to any country. It is a changed product with added value, it is absolutely normal practice for any business, and we do not consider it to be a violation,” he told news agency TASS.

Since Russia introduced an embargo on EU food in 2014, Belarus has been trying to make hay when the sun shines. Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the huge discrepancy between the level of Belarus’ exports and the actual volumes of its food production. According to the Russian side, Minsk used false certificates and labels indicating the Belarusian origin of food products which go to Russia from the European Union.


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