Belarus bans food imports from Poland from January

Belarus is imposing a ban on imports of food products from a number of countries, including Poland, after the EU widened sanctions on Minsk amid a migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, the Polish agriculture ministry has announced.

The Belarusian government published a decree on December 7, saying a wide range of agriculture and food product imports from the European Union, the United States, Canada, as well as Norway, Albania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Great Britain, Montenegro and Switzerland, would be banned from 1 January, 2022, the Belarusian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said in a Friday statement.

The ban will be in force for six months, the statement said.

A long list of foodstuffs whose import will be banned includes meat, dairy products, vegetables, confectionery, and salt but the Belarusian ministry warned more products could be added to the list in the future.

Some items, such as baby food, will be exempted from the ban, the statement added.

Food imports from Poland to be affected by the ban were worth EUR 127 million in H1 2021, according to data of the National Support Centre for Agriculture (KOWR), supervised by the agriculture ministry.

EU member states' ambassadors adopted sanctions against Belarus at a December 1 meeting in Brussels, targeting people and entities responsible for the migration crisis, including the national airline, Belavia.

Poland has been tackling migratory pressure at its border with Belarus since the spring, accusing the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating the situation in retaliation for earlier EU sanctions imposed after his disputed re-election in 2020.