The answer of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Y.Ambrazevich to the question of BelTA about the restriction of the export of Belarusian potash fertilizers05 August 2022
BelTA: This week UNCTAD Secretary General Rebeca Greenspan at a press conference in New York commented on the situation around the efforts made by the UN Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, to remove obstacles in the supply of food and fertilizer from Russia. In particular, she said, that "we are working hard and trying to remove the obstacles they (food and fertilizer from Russia) face in terms of finance, insurance, delivery and transport." She added, that the private sector needs clarification under what conditions it can carry out these activities (supplies of food and fertilizer) and related commercial transactions.
In your opinion, how complete and balanced are the voiced estimates, if they do not contain a word about the need to eliminate the existing restrictions on the supply of Belarusian potash fertilizers?
Will the international efforts that Greenspan speaks of be exhaustive if the world's largest fertilizer producer, Belarus, falls out of the chain?
Y.Ambrazevich: Belarus would like to welcome real progress in resolving the issue of removing obstacles to the access of Russian goods to international markets, including Russian mineral fertilizers. The easier it will be for Russia in terms of ensuring the freedom of its export, the more opportunities it will have for mutually beneficial trade with Belarus, for the purchase of Belarusian goods, for the implementation of other significant cooperation projects within the framework of the Union State. Actually, this is also true in the opposite direction with respect to Belarus' export freedom.
While it is understood that the UN structures, as well as the heads of their secretariats, are limited by the political will of the member countries, we note the significant but insufficient revitalization of both the UN Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of UNCTAD in the face of the potential threat of food shortages for the least developed countries and rising costs for developing countries in ensuring their own food security.
Regarding Belarusian potash fertilizers, Mr. Guterres has first-hand information, personally from the President of the Republic of Belarus. Our diplomats conveyed it to all the UN officials involved.
At the same time, it should be frankly noted that the fact of illegal restrictions on the access of Belarusian potash fertilizers to the international market is still diligently avoided by international structures.
As you know, our country is one of the three world producers of potassium chloride. Let me remind you that there are three “large” producers of potash fertilizers in the world. These are Belarus, Russia and Canada. Before the sanctions, Belarusian potash met almost 20% of world demand. The shortage of potassium, caused by its short supply to the world market from Belarus and, of course, from Russia, became the catalyst for a surge in prices for fertilizers. Today, no one in the world is able to effectively replace Belarusian potash in the market overnight. This is a complex and lengthy both technological and economic task. All the sounding arguments about the supposedly rapid increase in sales by some alternative suppliers are nothing more than talking about the problem.
Everyone in the world should know, and first of all, people in developing countries, that if Belarusian potash regained unhindered access to the world market today, the price of fertilizers would drop significantly, perhaps almost by half. People in developing countries should be aware that their bread, rice or beans are becoming more expensive as a result of the sanctions policy of the US and European Union governments.
In this regard, I believe that the efforts of the UN, UNCTAD, in particular, in the person of their first leaders, to solve the whole range of problems in the field of global food security should be continued. And the topic of Belarusian potash should not only not be ignored, but should be at the top of the list of tasks to be solved.
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