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20 October 2022, 19:12

Belarusian economy minister compares Western sanctions to economic warfare

GRODNO, 20 October (BelTA) – Belarus has learned how to flexibly adapt to unfavorable conditions as much as possible since sanctions were introduced. Belarusian Economy Minister Aleksandr Chervyakov made the statement at a meeting with Grodno Azot workers and ideologists of Grodno organizations to discuss the evolving military political situation in the country and abroad, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Chervyakov said: “Our country felt certain sanctions-fuelled pressure last year. Our flagship enterprises were attacked, including Grodno Azot, on which products the operation of a number of allied industries depends. But they didn't break us. We've learned how to work as flexibly as possible and adapt to unfavorable conditions. Despite sanctions the Belarusian economy demonstrated a growth of over 2% last year. 2021 was the most successful one from the point of view of foreign trade. Foreign trade surplus hit $4 billion. The financial state of enterprises improved meanwhile.”

Belarus faced another challenge in 2022. “A genuine economic war was launched against our enterprises: additional restrictions were introduced against metallurgy, woodworking, cement industry, logistic restrictions were introduced, access to the markets we are accustomed to is now difficult,” the official remarked.

Aleksandr Chervyakov said: “The impact of the sanctions was initially estimated at $900 million in export losses. In 2021 it grew up to virtually $4 billion. This year's potential losses were supposed to total $16 billion or 40% of export in comparison with last year. According to estimates of international organizations, the sanctions-based restrictions were supposed to result in economic losses of over 10%. Plans to tear apart our country and our economy have failed. The head of state set clear tasks so that we would not feel the pressure of sanctions.” He pointed out that the economy started growing in August after a five-month slowdown.

In his words, agriculture made the key contribution. “Manufacturing sector started demonstrating positive dynamics in September. It is important that the branches of the manufacturing sector that make high-tech products are starting to show growth. The production of microchips, TV sets, optics, haul trucks, buses, forage harvesters, and so on has increased by 20%. Grodno Azot's earnings rose by virtually 20% in January-August 2022. The output volume has been growing since August,” the economy minister said.

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