Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Dairy dispute sours Belarus-Russia relations
By Tatiana Kalinovskaya
Minsk (AFP) June 14, 2017

A spat between Russia and Belarus seems to have spilt over into the dairy sector, as Moscow has whipped up a conflict that is pushing its neighbour to export its products to China.

Ex-Soviet Belarus's dairy producers accuse Russian food hygiene officials of deliberately sabotaging them by issuing multiple bans against various dairy plants and abattoirs.

While Moscow insists these measures are all about hygiene, they resemble the commercial embargoes the Kremlin has applied to other countries whenever political relations break down.

Russia and Belarus are close allies and trading partners but ties have become strained as veteran strongman Alexander Lukashenko, increasingly wary of Moscow since its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, has argued over border controls and energy prices.

The stakes are very high for landlocked Belarus with its closed economy and extreme dependence on Russia: last year 95 percent of its food exports worth $3.7 billion went to Russia.

The dairy sector is particularly important because Belarus has a large number of producers and they have a high reputation for quality in Russia, which does not produce enough milk for its own consumers.

- Chinese market -

Russian agricultural officials accuse Minsk of taking advantage of Russia's embargo of European food imports imposed in revenge for EU sanctions by sending it products of inferior quality.

But for Minsk there is no doubt that "certain structures have an obvious interest in using their influence to keep out Belarusian producers" from the Russian market, said Belarusian agriculture minister Leonid Zayats in an interview with ONT state television.

The restrictions on Belarusian enterprises have fluctuated constantly for months -- being introduced, then softened or toughened up. They take all forms, from outright bans to increased monitoring. At the end of May, they affected almost 100 dairy plants and abattoirs.

Searching for new markets, agriculture professionals met at a conference in mid-May organised to help them sell to Chinese consumers who increasingly hungry for dairy products.

"Russia has closed its market to us, I've come in order to start exporting to China," Alexander Mikhailovsky, the director of the Lepelsky dairy plant, told AFP.

Alexander Subbotin, the country's chief veterinary inspector, said around 30 dairy producers had already been authorised to sell to China. And certification is underway for future exports of beef.

Subbotin said dairy exports to China in the first quarter of 2017 were worth $1.3 million, more than in the whole of 2015.

"We are going to sell our products to consumers who need them," agriculture minister Zayats told state news agency Belta recently.

- Complicated relations -

These commercial spats come at a time of complicated diplomatic relations.

Minsk has criticised Moscow's role in the Ukrainian crisis and edged closer to the West by convincing the European Union to lift sanctions after Lukashenko freed imprisoned opposition politicians.

At a press conference in February, Lukashenko, in power for over two decades and prone to outspoken declarations, spent a long time berating Russia and accusing it of not respecting international agreements.

The Kremlin responded by reminding Minsk which side its bread is buttered: Moscow gives "major economic, political and other support to Belarus", it said, citing loans and agreements worth tens of billions of dollars.

A meeting in early April between Lukashenko and counterpart Vladimir Putin helped smooth over the cracks, as they resolved a raging disagreement on the price of Russian energy supplies. But relations remain volatile.

Vladimir Zharikhin of the CIS Institute argues the crisis between the two is only relative, with Belarus still one of the few members of a Moscow-led economic union.

For Zharikin, Belarus needs the Russian market to sell its products and Moscow has an interest in protecting its alliance with a neighbour bordering the European Union.

He links the current problems to the Belarusian president's personality and his "habit of raising purely business matters onto a political level".

"These are relations between two close countries. They cannot always be absolutely cloud-free."

Culls, poultry transport ban as S. Korea fights bird flu outbreak
Seoul (AFP) June 7, 2017
South Korea has imposed a temporary nationwide ban on poultry transportation as it struggles to contain an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus, which has led to the slaughter of some 190,000 birds. The first case in this outbreak of the virus was confirmed in the southern island of Jeju on June 2, and four more cases have been confirmed in different locations across the country. ... read more

Related Links
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NASA satellites image, measure Florida's extreme rainfall

The heat is on for Sentinel-3B

exactEarth Launches Revolutionary Global Real-Time Maritime Tracking and Information Service

Earth is a jewel, says astronaut after six months away

GIS is a powerful tool that should be used with caution

Japan launches satellite in bid for super accurate GPS system

exactEarth Broadens Small Vessel Tracking Offering

Chinese firms develop BeiDou navigation applications

Activists block logging in Poland's ancient forest

Decomposing leaves are surprising source of greenhouse gases

Forensic analysis of wood's chemical signatures could curb illegal logging

Canada provides Can$867 mn to beleaguered softwood sector

Turning car plastics into foams with coconut oil

Scientists use new technique to recycle plant material into stock chemicals

Splitting carbon dioxide using low-cost catalyst materials

Newly identified gene helps time spring flowering in vital grass crops

US official backs clean energy cooperation with China

Simulations pinpoint atomic-level defects in solar cell nanostructures

SCE and G Launches South Carolina's Largest Community Solar Program

U.S. solar power gaining momentum

It's a breeze: How to harness the power of the wind

ADB: Asia-Pacific growth tied to renewables

GE Energy Financial Services Surpasses $15 Billion in Renewable Energy Investments

U.S. states taking up wind energy mantle

Coal waste fuel may reduce anthropogenic emissions

Researchers compute their way toward cleaner coal plants

Foreign bidding war for Rio's Australia coal mines

India's Adani to start work on mine near Great Barrier Reef

Hong Kong wealth gap hits 46-year high

Taiwan lawmakers launch support group for Hong Kong democracy

Chinese firm tied to Communist Party critic stands trial

China web users take aim at property clampdown

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement