Freight from Belarus to Estonia increases to record level

Protesters called for free elections outside the Belarusian Embassy in Tallinn on June 29.
Protesters called for free elections outside the Belarusian Embassy in Tallinn on June 29. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The amount of Belarusian goods imported to Estonia has risen to a record high this year - despite EU sanctions on the country. Fertilizer imports have completely stopped.

Almost €464 million worth of goods were imported from Belarus to Estonia between January and September 2021. This broke the previous record of €427 million in 2018.

In September imports rose by as much as 245 percent compared to September 2020. The value totaled €53 million.

Belarus' share of Estonia's exports is 3 percent.

Evelin Puura, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said the biggest share of exports from Belarus is of oil and coal tar products.

"The lion's share of these imports is made up of various mineral products, fuel oils, which we process a lot here. Imports of timber and timber products have started to increase. And then there is the metal," she said.

The timber imports were worth €30 million and the mineral products and fuel oils €397 million between January and September of this year.

In response to Belarus' crackdown on protesters and the forced landing of a Ryanair flight, the European Union extended its sanctions on the country in June.

This included bans on imports of products containing chloride-containing and petroleum. However, the ban does not affect contracts concluded before June 25, 2021.

Eerik Heldna, head of the Customs Department of the Tax and Customs Board, said the existing agreements cannot be extended or widened.

He said it is not possible to disclose whether the Tax and Customs Board has blocked banned goods arriving in Estonia due to the sanctions imposed by the EU.

Last year, €72.4 million worth of goods were exported from Estonia to Belarus. During the first nine months of this year, €51.6 million worth of exports were sent to Belarus.

This year, the main exports have been cocoa beans - totaling almost €8.3 million worth - and frozen fish - €5.8 million worth.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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