Belarus Table of Contents

Both before and after independence, most of Belarus's imports came from Russia (64 percent in 1990) and Ukraine (19 percent in 1990). However, the foreign trade situation worsened for Belarus as the former Soviet Union continued to disintegrate economically. Imports from such countries as Germany, Poland, and the United States increased, so that by 1994 only 76 percent of Belarus's imports came from former Soviet republics. Belarus was now paying higher prices for goods it had previously imported cheaply from them. The greatest drain on its finances now consisted of imports of raw materials and oil, whose prices increased greatly in the early to mid-1990s.

In 1994 Belarus's imports from non-CIS countries decreased by nearly 13 percent from 1993 to US$534 million. Its imports from CIS countries were estimated at US$3.1 billion, a decrease of over 57 percent by volume from the previous year.

In the mid-1990s, Belarus imported oil, natural gas, coal, rolled ferrous metal, nonferrous metals, commercial lumber and sawed timber, chemical products, raw materials for the chemical industry, cement, cotton yarn, silk, machines and equipment, automobiles and buses, sewing machines and washing machines, paper, grain, forage, cooking oil, sugar, tea, fish and fish products, vegetables, and consumer goods. A few items were subject to restrictions for health and security reasons, including chemicals and industrial waste. An improved import tariff structure was introduced in October 1993, partly in line with World Bank recommendations.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress