Small business association speaks out against premature introduction of new certification rules

The rules, which prohibit the sale of clothes and footwear without a special label confirming their compliance with the Customs Union\'s safety standards, sparked a fierce outcry from Belarusian market vendors...

 

A small business association called Perspektyva has condemned the Belarusian government's apparent plans to introduce the Customs Union's certification rules for imported clothing and footwear prematurely.

The rules, which prohibit the sale of clothes and footwear without a special label confirming their compliance with the Customs Union's safety standards, sparked a fierce outcry from Belarusian market vendors, who insisted that the certification procedure would be too costly. Their walkouts and protests eventually forced the Belarusian government to promise that the introduction of the rules would be postponed by one year, until July 1, 2014.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Pyotr Prakapovich announced on October 31 that the certification rules would take effect as early as December 1, 2013.

In a statement, Perspektyva accuses authorities of seeking to ruin Belarusian small business owners as soon as possible with the help of the rules. Given that the nationwide strike on June 27 has not achieved the desired results, small business owners, who have more than 20 years of experience of resisting government persecution, reserve the right to defend their interests with all available legal means, Perspektyva warns.

In an interview with BelaPAN, Perspektyva leader Anatol Shumchanka described plans to introduce the new certification system seven months earlier than promised as an "unprecedented step" by Alyaksandr Lukashenka's government aimed at "destabilizing the situation in Belarus."

"Prakapovich's statement was a provocation because the authorities understand very well that it is simply impossible to issue certificates to more than 100,000 sole entrepreneurs and 80,000 private unitary enterprises within a month," Mr. Shumchanka said. // BelaPAN