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Exit from the EAEU is the way to reduce the welfare of the belarusian people

From the point of view of our country's welfare and stability at the international stage the program of so-called "coordinating council" of the opposition is rather doubtful. Especially, it concerns the proposal on the exit of Belarus from the EAEU, and other integration structures in the post-Soviet space.

Economic trends of the recent decades have led to a significant increase in the dependence of large companies in the global markets and value chains. And this - in view of the dominance of the large industrial and agricultural enterprises in our economy - is essential. In general, before the coronacrisis, several European countries and the United States were characterized by a trend of liberalization, which was characterized by a decrease in the amount of customs duties, the reduction of the use of monetary and quantitative restrictions. If in the mid 50-s of the XX century the average value of the customs duties for these countries amounted to 30-40%, currently it ranges within 3-5%.

At the same time, the reduction of customs duty rates was accompanied by a significant increase of the role of non-tariff measures: certification, environmental safety standards, sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, etc. The importance of special protective, antidumping and compensation measures, restrictions on foreign trade in services and intellectual property was increasing. The coronacrisis significantly enhanced these non-tariff restrictions both quantitatively and qualitatively.

In fact, in this connection, we can predict a smooth transition from trade and currency wars to restrictions on withdrawal of capital from the developed countries, the tightening of monetary regulation and practice of seizures in case of violation of these rules. It is important to understand that this will happen anyway, and the only question is whether a collapse of global markets will be rather painful for Belarus, or it will be compensated by the internal system, which has resistance to external conditions. When it comes to countries with a small open economy, this stability is achieved through participation in integration associations and in the macro-economic regions formed during the post-global era.

Obviously, under the global market liberalization conditions, the consequences of a possible exit from the EAEU could be somehow mitigated by reconfiguring the external economic vector. Now, against the background of the new economic trends, these consequences can be literally disastrous. In fact, the results of the hard work for the gradual overcoming of a number of non-tariff restrictions, in force in the EAEU, will be multiplied by zero - and we will have to travel this path again in the case of possible interactions with other integration associations.

Taking into account that in view of the direct and indirect effects of cooperation between Belarus and Russia within the framework of the Union State and the EAEU, about half of the country's GDP (USD 59.964 billion per year) is formed, the exit from these integration structures can result in the loss of 20 to 25% of GDP - and a corresponding drop in real incomes of the population.

In general, the movement towards strengthening the four freedoms within the framework of the EAEU (free movement of goods, services, capital and labor force) has quite a positive effect on strengthening the macroeconomic and financial stability of our country. In particular, the legislation was harmonized in the sphere of financial market regulation, the inconsistencies in the labor market were smoothed, the export and import flows increased. Thus, the Belarusian export to the EAEU countries increased by USD 2.9 billion from 2015 (or 26.4%). The volume of import to Belarus from EAEU countries increased by USD 5.5 billion (or 32.2%). From the point of view of the structural cross-section of our export to the EAEU countries, we can point out the "foodstuffs and agricultural raw materials" (32.4%), "machinery, equipment and vehicles" (29.0%), "chemical products" (11.8% ), "textiles, textile products and footwear" (8.2%). In 2018, these four groups accounted for approximately 81.4% of the Belarusian export.

The positive dynamics is also characteristic for the increase of the export of Belarusian services in the EAEU countries. It grew from USD 1.8 billion in 2015 to USD 2.3 billion in 2018 (i.e. 21.7%), while the balance of the Belarusian services trade in the EAEU market remained positive (USD 0.5 billion in 2018). While noting these figures, one should bear in mind not only the attractiveness of the EAEU as the target market, but also a relatively high materials and energy consumption of our production, and, therefore, dependence on the supply of raw materials and energy at reasonable prices.

Thus, since the participation of Belarus in the EAEU contributes to the economic growth of our country, the expansion of economic relations with third countries, the promotion of the interests of the Belarusian manufacturers in the foreign markets due to the use of the EAEU potential, the exit from the main economic union in the post-Soviet territory will inevitably result in the disruption of the competitiveness and loss of welfare of the Belarusian people.