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Country News

5 April 2011

Lukashenko: Higher customs duties on cars will calm down the currency market

KOBRIN, 5 April (BelTA) – The frenzied foreign exchange market will calm down after customs duties on automobiles are raised, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko during his working trip in Brest Oblast on 5 April. “Certainly, the frenzied import of automobiles did a lot of harm to us. There is more than one billion [US dollars] there. Proposals to impose the customs duties now have been voiced. But such a move would affect people. No need to put pressure on our people. We will live through it. May people buy whatever car they like,” said the head of state. Speaking about the people that import cars from abroad to resell them, the head of state said: “It’s business. We cannot choke people because of this hard cash. But let’s do it honestly: if you have hard currency, you can go and buy things. If you don’t, we will not tap into reserves. The gold and foreign exchange reserves are a sacred thing. We should replenish them,” stressed the Belarusian head of state. He remarked that the situation will calm down in several months and people will exchange hard currency for Belarusian rubles. “Well people want to buy foreign currency. Nothing to do about it. Therefore I told the National Bank and the government that we shouldn’t stamp on people. May people fulfill their desire,” said Alexander Lukashenko. The head of state believes that the higher number of personal cars in Belarus will also have its benefits. Accompanying services will be provided. It will bring about new jobs, higher fuel sales and the tax base. “Therefore, it should be treated with calm. Yes, there was some frenzy. It is much lower now and tends to go down. But people will not complain that we prevented them from buying what they want,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “The most important thing is to sell more than we import. We should stop living at the expense of someone,” concluded the President. BelTA reported earlier that starting 1 July 2011 customs duties on cars imported by individuals to Belarus will be raised up to the level of the duties enforced by Customs Union member states.

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