Putin and Lukashenko Haven’t Reached Agreement
OREANDA-NEWS In relations between Russia and Belarus after the New Year there will be "some nuances", because of which Minsk requires compensation. So the press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov commented on reports of another meeting of the presidents of Russia and Belarus before the New Year.
"Some new economic nuances appear after the New Year, so the Belarusian side believes that compensation is necessary. The Russian side does not agree in everything," Peskov said.
According to him, the day before, on December 25, together with the presidents of both countries, the government of the two countries discussed these issues. "Disagreements remain, but this happens," Peskov said, commenting on the results of the meeting. According to him, Moscow and Minsk have yet to find solutions that would suit both sides.
According to Peskov, "close allied relations imply a large number of operational issues." "To prevent, let's say, some tangles of contradictions and the presidents agreed to hold a meeting. There is no exact date yet," he concluded.
Earlier, media wrote that Minsk's claims caused Russia's plans to carry out the so-called tax maneuver. This reform provides for the gradual zeroing of export duties on oil and oil products within six years, with an increase in the tax on mineral extraction within three years.
The Ministry of Finance of Belarus believes that due to these changes in 2019, Minsk will lose about $300 million at an oil price of $70 per barrel, for six years the loss will be about $10 billion while the press Secretary of the President of Belarus Natalia Eismont estimated losses in the amount of $11 billion over the next four years.
As compensation for the losses Russia has offered Belarus intergovernmental fiscal transfer, however, Belarus insists on "fixing the compensation price of the resulting oil" (this option is called the Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas).
In addition to the consequences of the tax maneuver in Russia, Minsk is outraged by the price of gas set by Russia. This fact was complained by the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in early December. In response, Putin objected that if Russia had supplied gas to Belarus at market prices, Minsk would have bought gas at a price of more than $200 per 1,000 cubic metres, rather than $ 127, and offered to continue this discussion behind closed doors. After this episode, a bilateral meeting of the leaders of the two countries was organized, which took place on December 25.
Commenting on its results, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that the positions of the two countries "managed to bring together" positions in the field of energy pricing, but noted that the issue of gas prices and "starting from 2020" has not resolved yet. A working group has been set up to promptly resolve disputes between Russia and Belarus. "From our side it will be Headed by [Minister of economic development] Oreshkin, " Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
According to the Head of the press service of the Kremlin, the position of the presidents of Belarus and Russia on the tax maneuver could not be closer. "In particular, a working group is being created for this," he said, answering a question from journalists.