The invasion of Ukraine has led to a stream of economic punitive measures against Russia and Belarus, including the suspension of a series of export licences for companies that are still doing business with the two countries.
The Flemish Government has suspended almost €200 million worth of export licences to Russia and Belarus, which is seen as an accomplice to Russia, as a result of the European Union's sanctions, which have impacted the exportation of products.
As part of the first set of sanctions introduced at the end of February, a series of current licences for the export of "dual use" goods - with both military and civilian applications - to the two countries have been frozen, a consequence that has so far remained under the radar, according to reports from De Tijd.
Examples of goods that are now subject to the export ban are fairly widely available computers, data storage devices, routers and telephones, as well as trucks and diesel motors.
125 licences suspended
In Flanders, the region's Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Jambon immediately suspended 113 licences for Russia with a total value of €196 million and 12 licences for Belarus for a much lower amount of less than €10,000.
However, according to a spokesperson for the Flemish Chancellery and Foreign Affairs Department, most of the goods that this would affect were probably already exported before the invasion of Ukraine, as licences are valid for three years.
- Belgian companies refuse to leave Russia
- Unclear sanctions see 1,500 Russian containers blocked in Belgian ports
- EU considers embargo on Russian oil after 'massive' Mariupol bombing
It is not immediately clear what type of goods or companies are affected by the suspension, which is a temporary measure. Export licenses for arms, military equipment and dual-use goods with military end-use to Russia have already been halted since 2014 as part of the set of sanctions following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian regime.
Figures cited by De Tijd state that Russia is the 14th most important export destination for the region. Flanders exported a total of €3.47 billion to Russia in 2020, 1.2% of total exports, according to figures from Flanders Investment & Trade.