Lukashenka said to have agreed to abolition of government monopoly on imports of alcohol, cigarettes

According to the source, authorities have drafted a bill of amendments to the law governing the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages…

 

Alyaksandr Lukashenka has given his consent to abolishing the government’s monopoly on imports of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, a source in the Belarusian government told BelaPAN.

According to the source, authorities have drafted a bill of amendments to the law governing the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, non-food alcoholic products and ethyl alcohol, and a presidential decree providing for the abolition of the government's monopoly on alcohol and cigarette imports on January 1, 2015.

The Belarusian government has to give up its prerogative of selecting and assigning “special importers” for importing alcoholic beverages and cigarettes because Minsk demands that Russia abolish its requirement for customs duties collected by Belarus on exports of petroleum products made from Russian crude to be transferred to the Russian treasury and Moscow wants Minsk to eliminate all exceptions from the free trade regime within the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia in return.

Russia is ready to gradually remove all exceptions from the Customs Union`s free trade regime, President Vladimir Putin told reporters in Minsk on October 24 following a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.

The presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia have agreed to eliminate all barriers to the free movement of goods, services, capital, technologies and workforce, Mr. Putin said.

Speaking about restrictions on trade in crude oil and petroleum products, Mr. Putin said that Russia understood the concern of Belarus and Kazakhstan and was ready to scrap the exceptions even though that would mean losses for the Russian budget. "We hope that our partners will also accommodate us, removing the exceptions they consider important," Mr. Putin said. //BelaPAN