Beer importers have not received licences to import beer from Ukraine to Belarus.
According to BelaPAN, the measure was taken after Ukrainian breweries failed to agree with Belarus on prices of selling their products in Belarus.
According to earlier reports, Belarus introduced licences on the import of beer outside the Customs Union on May 1. Under a regulation of the Belarusian government, beer can be imported upon obtaining one-time licenses issued by the Ministry of Trade with the approval of Belgospishcheprom concern.
As BelaPAN figured out, licences will be issued on the ground of signing an agreement on minimum retail prices of beer in Belarus between the importer and the Belarusian side. Kyiv thinks the price agreement will increase prices of Ukrainian beer in the Belarusian market.
According to the official statistics, the share of imported beer in the Belarusian domestic market was 30.1% in the first quarter of 2014. In the period from January to March this year, Belarus imported 3.19 million decalitres of beer, including 1.86mn dl from Russia, 1.2mn dl from Ukraine and insignificant volumes from Germany, the Czech Republic, Ireland and the Baltic States.
Lukashenka criticised the large share of imported beer in Belarus at a meeting to discuss the current states and prospects of the brewing industry on April 10. “Do you think imported beer is better than ours? Do you plan to further poison the Belarusians? What's the difference with imported beer? It contains plenty of flavouring agents and preservatives. Belarusian beer is natural! Go to the sauna, take an imported beer and a Belarus-made beer, pour the beer on the stones and try what it smells like. The Belarusian beer smells of bread. It is natural and organic,” Lukashenka said and ordered to ban selling imported beer in the domestic market without relative permissions.
The country's stores were recommended to sell only Belarusian beer after the meeting. As a result, people faced a deficit of imported beer during the ice hockey world championship on May 9—May 25.
According to BelaPAN, Belarus now imports beer from mostly Russia, the country's partner in the Customs Union. A small amount is imported from the Czech Republic, Ireland and Germany. It is more expensive than Belarusian beer and cannot compete with it in the domestic market, experts say.