Belarus

At a glance

Main competitive advantages

  • A strategic location: at the crossroads between East and West, North and South, in the middle of Europe
  • A perfect place to do business with Russia: customs union between Belarus and Russia, a much lower cost of doing business (lower costs of salaries, land lease, hotels, etc.) and a better business climate
  • First-mover advantages for investors: competition is still scarce and there is room for growth and increased competitiveness across almost all sectors in Belarus
  • 6 free economic zones, an interesting tax system and incentives for private businesses
  • A highly skilled and cheap workforce and a technological background
  • A well-developed transport and communications infrastructure
  • Unified rules for technical regulations and application of sanitary and veterinary codes for countries of Common Economic Space – CES (Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan)
  • Unified customs, tariff and non-tariff regulation of CES countries with third countries
  • Exemption of custom duties for imported technological equipment, raw materials and goods for investment projects (if there is no production of such items in CES)
  • Tariff preferences for imported goods, used as investments into authorised capital for JV or Foreign enterprises
  • Belarus has free trade bilateral agreements with 10 countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine
  • Belarus is located on interface (junction) of West European and East railway gauges
    (narrow/broad gauge) - an advantage for development of border transport and logistical centres.


Economic outline

Key figures

GDP: 155,148 billion BYR/ EUR 41 billion (2011) Population 9 million. Area: 207,600 km²

Market access: Free Trade agreements with Russia and Kazakhstan (Common Economic Space - CES: 170 million people, with total trade turnover avout 900 billion US dollars ) and with CIS countries (11 countries including Belarus, 275 million people).

Belarus launched a progressive liberalisation of its economy: over 300,000 private companies account for 30% of the national GDP, and the State aims at attracting private investment in a range of sectors. The main focus is on modernisation of the economy, especially for innovative industries.


Foreign Investment  

  • Over 6,000 enterprises with foreign capital in 2011
  • Any state-owned enterprise could be privatised taking into account prospects of future development of the enterpirse and region or branch of economy and interests of employees
  • The National Agency of Investment and Privatisation (NAIP) with the help of World Bank experts fulfils the pilot project to privatise 8 state-owned enterprises; list of state-owned enterprises for privatisation with NAIP as organiser
  • Information on Privatisation and Enterprises' Shares availability is published in Russian and English at the State Committee on Property of the Republic of Belarus site - www.gki.gov.by
  • Belarus aims to attract foreign businesses with advanced technologies
  • Top investor countries: Russia, Europe (UK, Germany, Cyprus, Baltic states, Poland...), Ukraine and other CIS countries


Business environment

Ease of doing business

Doing business 2012 rank for Belarus: 69/ 183. Change in Rank: ↑ 60 (since 2007)

Latest improvements in Property Registration, Investor protections, Taxes Payment

Belarus was the fourth best business reformer in 2009 and 2010.


Investment climate

Belarus investment climate is increasingly attractive. Investing Across Borders (IAB) assessment for Belarus:

  • Starting a Foreign Business: it takes 7 days and 6 procedures to establish a foreign-owned limited liability company (LLC) in Belarus, making it one of the fastest countries in the world;
  • Accessing Industrial Land: leasing public land is the most common option;
  • Arbitrating Commercial Disputes: Belarus is one of the countries that enforce foreign arbitration awards the fastest (6 weeks on average), however some cases are excluded.


Tax system and incentives

Belarus offers a competitive tax system: 20% VAT (main rate), 10% (reduced rate), 0% (for export), 18% corporate tax (income tax), 12% income tax.

Preferential legal regimes of investment are available:

  • Free economic zones (FEZ): exemptions of various taxes, of customs duty on imports and guarantee of legal stability for 7 years for projects above USD 1 million in the FEZ in Minsk, Gomel, Vitebsk, Grodno, Brest and Mogilev;
  • High Technology Park/ HTP Belarus: a special taxation regime and a Minsk-based FEZ aim to  incubate and attract cutting edge ICT businesses in Belarus;
  • Investment contracts”: additional legal safeguards and preferential terms for investment projects;
  • Other special benefits such as simplified tax system for small companies, small towns and rural areas.


Referent organisations and useful resources

This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of EUROCHAMBRES and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

© 2011 East Invest Support Office
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