Small business leader sounds alarm over Customs Union`s certification rules for light industry goods


New certification rules for light industry goods that will take effect in the Customs Union on January 1, 2013 will ruin small businesses with sole entrepreneur status in Belarus, Anatol Shumchanka, leader of a small business association called Perspektyva, said in an interview with BelaPAN on Tuesday.

It appears that the rules, recently approved by the Commission of the Customs Union, will ban the sale of clothes and footwear without a special label confirming their compliance with the Customs Union’s safety standards, said Mr. Shumchanka.

To obtain the label, the sellers may even be required to have their goods undergo trials, he said.

The certification and labeling procedure will cost time and money, Mr. Shumchanka said, predicting that it would take a month or two. “If the rules are enacted as originally framed, all markets and shopping centers will have to close in Belarus,” he said.

“A total of 363 markets and 376 shopping centers in the country sell light industry goods,” said Mr. Shumchanka. “According to our estimates, more than 100,000 vendors will be forced to wind up their business, which means that the number of the unemployed will correspondingly increase.”

The businesses will respond with strikes and street protests, he warned.

At the same time, Mr. Shumchanka said that the State Standardization Committee had failed to explain how radically the country`s selling rules for light industry goods would change on January 1. Perspektyva has sent an appeal to Deputy Prime Minister Syarhey Rumas, asking him to shed more light on the coming changes, according to the leader.