Investment policy and investment support
The basic investment principles are defined by the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On investment”.
Under this law, investment in the Republic of Belarus is based on the following principles:
- investors, as well as the state, its agencies and officials, act within the jurisdiction of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the legislative acts of the Republic of Belarus adopted in accordance with it (the rule of law);
- investors are equal before the law and enjoy their rights without any discrimination (the principle of equality of investors);
- investors act in good faith and do not cause any harm to other people, environment, historical and cultural values, do not infringe on the rights or legally protected interests of other persons, do not violate rights in other forms (the principle of good faith and reasonability of investment);
- interference in private affairs is prohibited, except for cases when it is carried out in the interests of national security (including protection of the environment, historical and cultural values), public order, protection of morals, public health, rights and freedoms of other persons on the basis of legislative acts of the Republic of Belarus (the principle of inadmissibility of arbitrary interference in private affairs);
- investors enjoy guaranteed protection of their legitimate rights and interests in court and in other bodies in line with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus, international agreements of the Republic of Belarus (the principle of ensuring the restoration of violated rights and legitimate interests, judicial protection).
Preferential regimes are in place in:
- Free economic zones;
- China-Belarus Industrial Park Great Stone;
- Special Economic Zone Bremino-Orsha;
- Hi-Tech Park;
- Investment agreements;
- Medium-sized, small urban settlements, rural areas;
- Orsha District of Vitebsk Oblast;
- Southeast region of Mogilev Oblast;
- investment projects involving public-private partnership mechanisms.
As far as the country's priority projects are concerned, an investor can sign an investment agreement with the Republic of Belarus that will give him/her favorable conditions and preferences for construction and manufacturing provided he/she invests a certain amount of money within the time frame established by the agreement.
Investors have the right to choose a comfortable management regime, taking into account the specifics and scope of the investment project.
They play an important role in raising investment, boosting foreign economic activity, and creating new jobs.
Today, about 420 enterprises from more than 30 countries, employing more than 136,000 people are running their investment projects at the FEZs, attracting investments worth about $7 billion.
Free economic zones occupy 0.13% of the country's territory and employ 4.9% of the average number of employees in the country. At the same time, the FEZs account for 4.6% of gross domestic product, 15.3% of industrial output, 17.4% of exports of goods and 16.3% of foreign direct investment on a net basis.
Establishment of the FEZs gave a boost to certain types of economic activities and helped bring strategically important investors to the regions.
The leaders of Belarus and China reached an agreement to make it an international platform for implementing high-tech, competitive and innovative projects with high export potential, a full-fledged Smart City with an emphasis on three main areas, which are ecology, production, and life.
The China-Belarus Industrial Park Great Stone is located 25km from the capital of the Republic of Belarus in a unique natural complex and in close proximity to the international airport, railroads and the Berlin–Moscow transnational highway. It covers an area of more than 11,000 hectares.
Since the launch of the investment project, about $557 million has been invested in the industrial park, of which more than $243 million has been invested in infrastructure. So far, the park has 59 resident companies (as of 20 March 2020) with a reported investment portfolio of about $1.2 billion and plans to create 5,300 higher-productivity jobs. They run investment projects in such fields as electronics and telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and medical products, automotive industry, new materials, integrated logistics and electronic commerce, large data storage and processing, and research and technology.
On 22 June 2019 the Special Economic Zone Bremino-Orsha was set up in Orsha District. Its main activities are wholesale trade, electronic commerce, logistics, postal services, information services, research and technology and others.
For almost two years, revolutionary Presidential Decree No. 8 has been in effect. It is aimed at building a modern digital economy in the Republic of Belarus. Favorable business conditions in the Hi-Tech Park along with the establishment of institutions of English law based on the principle of extraterritoriality for its residents will be valid until 1 January 2049. Legal conditions have been created for conducting ICO, using crypto-currencies and introducing smart contracts. The government is encouraging the development of biotechnologies, medical, aviation and space technologies, and eSports.
Regardless of the preferential treatment regime chosen by an investor, the state provides consulting on a wide range of issues. The ‘one-stop-shop’ institution for investors is the National Agency of Investment and Privatization.
Institutions providing support to investors in the Republic of Belarus are:
- administrations of free economic zones;
- Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
- National Center for Marketing and Price Study;
- Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange;
- centers for standardization and certification;
- innovation infrastructure facilities (science and technology parks, technology transfer centers, venture organizations), as well as centers supporting small and medium-sized enterprises;
- regional investment development agencies, insurance, legal and consulting companies, including international ones.