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  Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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Belarusian companies subject to U.S. sanctions could face a number
Belarusian companies subject to U.S. sanctions could face a number of problems but will not be seriously affected, the country's first deputy prime minister said on Friday.

On Thursday, the United States extended the list of Belarusian companies affected by earlier imposed sanctions, including fiberglass company Steklovolokno, lacquer and paint producer Lakokraska and Belarusian Oil Trade House, a trading floor for exporting crude products.

"Of course, these enterprises could face certain problems and could be forced to diversify their deliveries, but I doubt these sanctions will seriously affect their work," Vladimir Semashko told journalists.

He said Steklovolokno, which exported a significant share of its produce to the U.S., would be most affected. "But its products are also in demand by other markets," the official added.

Washington imposed sanctions last November against Belarus's state-controlled petrochemical company Belneftekhim and froze the assets of its U.S. subsidiary. American companies were also banned from dealing with the company.

The measure resulted in significant reductions of embassy staff in both countries.

The U.S. set the freeing of all political prisoners in Belarus as a condition for lifting the sanctions. The main Belarusian opposition figure, Alexander Kozulin, is currently serving a 5 1/2 year prison sentence for organizing protests against President Alexander Lukashenko's reelection.

The U.S. and the European Union have accused Lukashenko of clamping down on dissent, stifling the media and rigging elections. Lukashenko, who was re-elected to a third term in 2006, and other senior Belarusian officials have been blacklisted from entering the U.S. and EU.


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