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HomeLithuaniaBelarus' import ban expected to affect only individual Lithuanian companies

Belarus’ import ban expected to affect only individual Lithuanian companies

Business representatives say that Belarus’ ban on a range of imports from Lithuania in retaliation for its closure of two more border checkpoints will only affect individual companies.

A spokesman for the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) notes that queues at the border with Belarus have decreased, adding that it is too early to say what impact Minsk’s move might have on traffic.

However, haulers believe that some companies will have to cease operations and that the Belarusian market will close entirely in the future.

Belarus said on Thursday that the new import ban applied to various items including food and alcohol, clothing, household appliances, car parts and construction equipment.

Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite says Minsk’s move “will further reduce international trade with the perpetrators of the war” in Ukraine.

“Immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine, I urged businesses to sever ties with the supporters of aggression,” Armonaite told BNS in a comment.

“Belarus’ decision to restrict imports across the border with Lithuania will further reduce international trade with the perpetrators of the war,” she added.

Marius Dubnikovas, vice-president of the Lithuanian Business Confederation, expects that the impact on the Lithuanian economy will be minimal as its trade relations with Belarus have “cooled to a minimum”.

“Some (companies) will be affected. There are still people trying to do business with Belarus and Russia. They will certainly be affected. But overall, it will not affect Lithuania’s economy,” Dubnikovas told BNS on Friday.

“Lithuania’s logistics and transport industry has long been oriented towards the West,” he said.

However, Vytautas Milenas, secretary general of Linava, the Lithuanian national road carriers’ association, says that only a small part of haulers works with Belarus, but those still operating in the neighboring market will be severely affected.

According to Milenas, it is possible that the Belarusian market will close in the near future.

“Some transport companies have had years of experience working in the Eastern market, which is shrinking and I’m afraid will close altogether in the near future,” he said.

Lithuania’s official statistics show that 594 Lithuanian companies exported to Belarus in January this year. Goods worth 87.6 million euros were exported from Lithuania to Belarus, of which 1.5 percent were of Lithuanian origin. Exports to Belarus accounted for 2.8 percent of the country’s total exports.

Giedrius Misutis, the SBGS spokesman, told BNS on Friday that it was too early to say what impact the new ban might have on vehicle traffic across the border.

Belarus said on Thursday it was halting a range of imports from Lithuania in retaliation for its neighbor closing two more border checkpoints.

Citing security concerns, Lithuania closed the Lavoriskes and Raigardas checkpoints on the border with Belarus in early March, following the closure of the Sumskas and Tverecius crossings last summer.

Only two of Lithuania’s six border checkpoints with Belarus remain open – at Medininkai and Salcininkai.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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