Belarus is Bringing Opportunities for European Companies

Read the Life in Transition special report


According to the EU statistics, China and Europe now trade well over €1 billion a day. The Asian giant is the EU’s second trading partner behind the United States and the EU is China’s biggest trading partner. At the same time the country accounts for a mere two or three per cent of overall European investments abroad. Why? Perhaps because some European investors are concerned about starting their own operations in China.

Ansgar Rudolph, project manager at InSite Bavaria, a German competence centre for industrial site development that is owned by the Technical University of Munich, says that instead of investing in a production plant in China, companies from Europe can have Chinese partners in Belarus.

“I see great opportunities for European companies to be closer to China; to be the neighbour of a Chinese company without facing the biggest disadvantages of operating a plant in China. The Great Stone [Industrial Park, located on the outskirts of Minsk] is the first transnational industrial area that provides a common ground for European and Chinese companies and that implements common standards for the two business worlds,” he says.

“It is predicted that by 2030, nearly 66 per cent of the world’s middle class will live in China,” says Freddy Opsomer, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Free Economic Zone in Kaunas, Lithuania. “That opens enormous prospects for the export of European goods to China but there are also new markets in India, Pakistan, Iran and Kazakhstan,” he adds.

Between the East and the West

Dmitry Krutoy, First Deputy Minister of Economy, says that Belarus has long been considered a gateway to Europe on the one hand, and to Asia, on the other. “It is located on the largest Trans-European highways as well as trade routes between the West, East, North and South. Because of this beneficial location, as well as the development of the industrial park, not only is Belarus a transfer-territory – as part of the concept of the
Silk Road Economic Belt – but also a destination on its own for goods production, processing, packaging and storage,” he tells Emerging Europe.

Frank Schuhholz, a logistics expert and the founder of FMS Advisers, points to the fact that the park is located close to Minsk airport and a two and a half hour drive from the Belarus-Polish border, which is the eastern border of the European Union.

“The project, which can be described as a large free trade and investment zone, covers an area of over 90 square km and will eventually hold workplaces for roughly 100,000 people. It is intended to attract local, as well as international investors to use this location as a manufacturing, trading and distribution hub which is closely tied to the railway corridor that links Europe and China,” he adds.

“Great Stone is the largest project that has been implemented in Belarus,” says Deputy Minister Krutoy. “It is an eco-city with a modern infrastructure and comfortable living and working conditions. A special management system provides investors with an opportunity to complete all the necessary administration procedures in a one-stop-shop scheme. We have also created conditions that facilitate the implementation of scientific and technical achievements such as a venture investment fund, as well as a centre for commercialisation of scientific research,” Mr Krutoy adds.

Great Stone emerging europe
Great Stone (courtesy of the Industrial Park)

Infrastructure in place

“However, in today’s competitive environment, investors have many choices of where to invest and locate their businesses,” says Deborah S. Porte, a Special Economic Zone expert with over 25 years’ experience in the design and development of various types of economic zones, transport and cargo hubs and technology parks. She has worked for governments and international organisations such as the World Bank.

“What makes a SEZ and its associated country attractive to an investor is a transparent and accountable SEZ regime and well managed SEZs where land is readily available on a long-term basis, where power, water and ITC are reliable, and where there is access to a skilled and/or trainable labour pool.

A strategically located, eco-friendly SEZ with a well-integrated logistics platform is the trend of the future,” Ms Porte tells Emerging Europe.

Sergey Vaitekhovsky, Deputy Director General at the Industrial Park Development Company, says the company has invested $300 million in the development of the Park’s infrastructure so far. “Currently, all of the infrastructure, such as main roads, a gas supply network, water intake stations, IT, water treatment facilities and a distributive electro-station have been completed. All contracts can be signed only with us. We now have eight residents registered and we expect 12 more to register by the end of 2017,” Mr Vaitekhovsky adds.

“Great Stone is very attractive for foreign investors from a tax point of view,” says Svetlana A Gritsouk, Tax and Law Director at EY Belarus. “Investors are free from any corporate taxes such as profit tax, land tax, real estate tax, for ten years, and for the following ten years they receive a 50 per cent discount from the existing rates,” she adds.

Mr Vaitekhovsky adds that, because the Park operates as a free customs’ zone, there is no need to pay VAT and customs duties. “Besides the corporate advantages there are several other benefits for attracting foreign labour, such as a rate of income tax for individuals that is fixed and constitutes only nine per cent – that is a third less than in the country, as well as social insurance payment benefits,” he adds.

Belarus – investment-friendly potential for Poland

Kazimierz Zdunowski, Chairman of the Polish-Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says that currently there are almost 550 Polish firms, or firms with Polish capital, in Belarus and they perceive it as an investor-friendly country and see growing potential.

“The Polish and Belarusian economies are very well adapted to manufacturing and trade collaboration. They complement one another not compete with one another. They are predestined to make use of their two great advantages: location and neighbourhood,” says Mr Zdunowski.

He adds that the Great Stone Industrial Park is still at an initial stage of development but it already offers great opportunities and Poland and Belarus should make use of all the opportunities to develop their trade and investment.

In 2016, the bilateral trade between the two countries reached $2.5 billion. Poland is now the country’s third biggest trade partner and ninth foreign investor and there’s room for more, especially now, that Belarus’ economy is growing again in 2017.

“Belarus is now ranked fourth across the globe among the countries, which have introduced significant reforms. Within the past ten years, Belarus has climbed up the Doing Business ranking by 92 notches. Significant improvements have been made, such as business start-up conditions, registration of ownership, tax payments, foreign trade, and protection of minority investors, electricity supply connections and insolvency resolution processes,” says Industrial Park’s Mr Vaitekhovsky.

Francis Malige, Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), also points to the benefits from access to the Customs Union market. “Belarus is a good place to invest and to re-export,” he concludes.


Belarus: On the Way to a Market Economy?

World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016 Resume For Emerging Europe

The Cyprus Dispute: Recognising the Changing Rules of the Conflict

cyprus emerging europe ebrd

Belarus’ Economy Is Slowly Recovering From Past Declines

Belarusian Economic Recovery May Downgrade Intended Reforms for Competitiveness

Winning the Fight for Female Talent in Central and Eastern Europe

pwc women

‘No’ To a Monetary Union With Russia

Belarus Has Set an Example for Others to Follow

The EBRD Helps Jordan’s Infrastructure to Accommodate an Influx of Refugees

ebrd jordan refugees

High Dollarisation the Largest Challenge for Georgia’s National Bank

Are Labour Shortages Driving Economic Growth?

Ukrainian Agribusiness — a Jewel in a Crown

Wheat ukraine agriculture ebrd

Will we Ever Overcome the Innovation Deficit in CEE?

Europe IT Map

Belarus US Business Relations Thrive as Conditions Improve

Lower Imbalances Should Support more Inclusive Growth Going Forward

Mixed currency notes

Belarus Is One of the Top Outsourcing Destinations of 2016

EBRD Annual Meeting 2017 — Board of Directors’ Opening Session

Cyprus: The Green Economy Shows the Way Forward

Cyprus coastline view, turquoise sea, white beaches

Montenegro: Joining up Agriculture and Tourism

montenegro ebrd emerging europe

Not All Quiet on the Eastern Front

Belarus Introduces New Business-Friendly Auditing Procedures

MINSK, BELARUS - AUGUST 15, 2016: Aerial view of the southwestern part of the Minsk with Palace of Sport and old and new other buildings. Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus.

FocusEconomics: Belarusian Economy to Grow in Q4 2016 and Onwards

The EU’s Benign Neglect Of Eastern Europe

Belarus Has To Make an Extra Effort To Change Investors’ Perceptions

The Next Four Months Crucial For the Belarus-EU Relations

Foreigners choose Minsk and Gomel as Belarus’ most attractive FDI destinations

Brexit Is a Great Opportunity to Attract Foreign Investors to Belarus

The Great Stone Industrial Park — Making Doing Business Easy in Minsk

The Dragon is Knocking at our Doors

china serbia silk road

The Belarusian real estate market is on the up

Under Promise, Over Deliver: Prospects for the EU’s Eastern Partnership in 2018

Eastern partnership

Emerging Europe Live: CEE — The Outsourcing Destination

EBRD Annual Meeting 2017 — EBRD Chief Economist’s Press Briefing

Greener and More Resilient: Energy Sector Reforms in Serbia for the Benefit of All

Belgrade, Serbia - confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers

UniCredit Focusses on Organic Growth in Central and Eastern Europe

unicredit ebrd

HTP: Belarus’ Engineers Are Leading a Cool Revolution

Will European Business and Institutions Bolster the New Trends That Have Appeared in Belarus?

Invest in Belarus: looking beyond politics to the future

The EU’s Benign Neglect of Eastern Europe

Belarus Serves up Some Recipes for Success

Business in Belarus Recipe Book

Strengthening the Resilience of the Economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Montenegro EBRD annual meeting

A Strategic Asset for Regional Growth and Development in the EU

Pier bridge crane and cargo handling cargo trains transported away.

Growth is Greater Across Emerging Europe, Despite Risks and Global Challenges

ebrd gdp

Minsk International Airport Widens its International Reach


21st century Manufacturing Arrives at Great Stone

Great stone

The essence of the Customs Union is protectionism

Germany Is Not Letting Belarus’ Small Downturns Put it off Looking for Investment Opportunities

Emerging Europe Has Already ‘Emerged’ for the Most and it’s a Transition to Be Proud Of

Office Space Vacancy is Currently Low but Building Standards Cause Concern

Minsk Belarus - March 23 2017 modern architecture business center Pokrovsky on Pobediteley Avenue editorial

PandaDoc — Rolling Sales Procedures Together So Everyone Succeeds

Emerging Europe Makes Great Strides in Improving Business Regulation for Entrepreneurs

Skopje Macedonia

Georgia’s Hospitality Sector Is Starting to Develop

georgia hospitality

Lithuania’s Focus on SME Growth and the EBRD’s Role

View on Vilnus

Belarus: Navigating the geopolitical storm

Will the New Five-day Visa-free Regime Encourage More Visitors to Belarus?

Ukraine’s Banking Sector Reconstruction Brings Asset Sales and Opportunities in Equal Measure

Gavel and Ukrainian hryvnias on a wooden table

Innovation Brings Great Opportunities to the Belarusian Economy

While the EU Makes Plans for CEE China Makes Investments

Nuclear Security Summit In Washington, 2016

Improving the Business Environment Is Vital for Moldova’s Government

ebrd moldova

Is the CEE Region About to Steal the Outsourcing Crown From India?

Amazing view on the Taj Mahal in sunset light with reflection in water. The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river. Agra Uttar Pradesh India.

Business Opportunities in Belarus Encourage Outside Interest

High-Tech Park in Minsk is growing rapidly

Veni, Vidi, Vici, Or My Personal Experience of Doing Business in Belarus

Falling Student Numbers and Declining R&D Result From Lack of Funds

Belarus 2020: Turning the Vicious Circle Into an Upward Spiral

Leszek Balcerowicz: Ukraine Can Learn from Poland’s Economic History

Bringing Belarus’ Cultural Past to Life for Belarusians and the World

Belarus is the most creative EEU country

“e-Belarus”: Embracing the Internet and its Possibilities

Belarus and Singapore Share the Same Factors for Economic Success

EY: Belarus’ IT Scene Is Thriving

High tech park minsk

An Independent Judicial System is Essential to Attract FDI

legal system CEE

A New Modern Mall Hopes to Draw Belarusians Back to the Home Market

RRY Capital

Why Is Belarus Tech Booming?

EU Membership Offers Real Prospects of Social Progress Gains

Beautiful view on cute backyard in sunny day, fresh green grass

Putin Urges Belarus to End Oil Transit Through Lithuania

Athens Greece - May 27 2016: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers

Smart, reliable and promising

Sir Suma Chakrabarti: The Opportunities of Challenge

suma chakrabarti ebrd

Young Well-Paid IT Specialists Are Making Belarus Known Internationally

Innovation Is the Key Growth Driver

innovation ebrd

Using Words to Paint a Picture – Belarus’ Nobel Prize Winning Novelist

Belarus Is Where the New Silk Road Heads For Europe

Emerging Europe Live: Life in Belarus As Seen by Foreigners

Feel the Vibe of the City of Minsk

Trinity suburb in Minsk (Nemiga) Belarus on 20 May 2017

Poland Government’s Development Plan and the EBRD’s Role

Warsaw EBRD annual meeting

Switched on Heads of Expansion Are Developing their Own Business Rankings, Adjusted to Their Companies’ Realities

global expansion

Globalisation Needs to Work, Not Only for the Few but for the Most and in Demonstrable Ways

Global Spread

Winds of Change for Belarus’ Reinsurance Industry?

The Belarusian Economy: The Challenges of Stalled Reforms

Belarusian Tech Companies Lead a Global Technological Advance in Outsourcing and Product Development

Rolling Sales Procedures Together so Everyone Succeeds


Belarusian Journalists Still Face Huge Problems

Emerging Europe and the EBRD host the Outlook on Belarus conference in London

Harris Georgiades: Cyprus’s Restored Business Environment Offers Investment Opportunities

Emerging Europe EBRD Sea port city of Larnaca, Cyprus. This picture was taken through the window of the plane.

Despite Public Anxieties, Migration is Playing a Key Role in ECA Growth

Bratislava city aerial panoramic view. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia.

More EU Help for Belarus SMEs

GRODNO BELARUS - DECEMBER 13 2013: Seamstress in textile factory sewing with a industrial sewing machine .

The Proof of a Country’s Readiness to Attract Foreign Investors Lies in the Development of the Insurance Market

Serbia, Belarus and Ukraine Ranked Lowly by Wharton Business School

Kyiv Ukraine - April 172017: The postal square in Kiev on Podol the Dnipro river. view of the square from the river panorama

The Shopping Experience Is Set To Go Global in Belarus from 2017 Onwards

New investors interested in Belarus’ Great Stone Industrial Park

Central And Eastern Europe At the World Property Market

The Bucharest Stock Exchange Has Started the Year on a Promising Note

stock exchange bucharest

Belarus: The Importance Of Diversification

Business Mentors Helping to Solve Business Development Problems First

Portrait of confident business people interacting in the office

Albania’s Agribusiness Support Facility – With a Little Help From Your Friends

View of the central square with the monument of Skanderbeg in the Albanian capital Tirana

Moldova: a Regional Economic Platform Vision

Aerial Landscape View Of Chisinau, Moldova

Italy and Belarus: A Relationship Based on Complementarities and History

Legal Reforms are Improving the Existing Problematic Situation in the Ukrainian Agro Market

ukraine agriculture

Belarusian Economy on a Diet to Change its Financial Outlook

Cautious Upturn in Emerging Europe Haunted by the Spectre of Uncertainty

Donald Trump

The EU Is Encouraging Belarus to Join the World Trade Organisation

Belarus Is Ready to Begin With Venture Capital Investments

The Deep Roots of Currency Crises in the Former Soviet Union

Sergei Guriev: Emerging Europe Countries are Happy Alike and Unhappy in Their Own Ways

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - 21 JUNE 2014: People on the streets of Prague, Czech Republic. Prague is one of the most visited city in Europe with over 5 million visitors every year.

IMF Believes State-Owned Enterprises Must Be Reformed

Image of the banknotes of new Belarusian banknotes five rubles put into circulation July 1 2016

The Belarusian Banking Sector Moving Towards Modernisation Despite Some Challenges

Small Businesses – the Backbone of the Egyptian Economy

women egypt emerging europe

Long-time Neighbours Need to Share Awareness, Plus Trade & Investment

The Country Shows Promise but Needs Some Reforms

Belarus-Turkey Investment Forum to increase investment and trade between the two countries

Belarus Is Making the First Steps onto the International Finance Floor

Kazakhstan is Beginning to Explore Belt and Road Opportunities

Astana Kazakhstan

CEE NPL Resolutions – Now and Then

NPL central and eastern europe

Fear of Hostilities Holds Back Bosnia and Herzegovina’s FDI Performance

ebrd bosnia emerging europe

Lukashenka seeks to avoid commitment to Russia’s geostrategic goals

Innovation and Consolidation — Key Trends in Polish Banking

Foreign Investors: Belarus Offers Opportunities But Further Improvements Are Needed

Belarus’s Election Tests the EU’s Global Strategy

Transition in Government and the Economy Remains Vital in CEE

Cloudy skies above the Hungarian Parliament Building Budapest.

Belarus: Changing Old Ideas And Mixing With the New in Belarus’ Export Market

OECD: Belarus Has to Find Its Own Belarusian Model to Emerge

Germany and Belarus: Thinking Globally Acting Locally

Encouraging SME’s Development Will Help Build Belarusian Economy

The UK and Belarus: A Partnership to Introduce the Real Belarus to Europe

The Belarusian Financial Sector: An Industry in the Process of Restructuring

Divided Economy That May Unite (Or Draw Apart)

Georgia on My Mind – Where Beauty Meets Business

georgia ebrd emerging europe

EBRD Annual Meeting 2017 — EBRD President’s Press Conference

The Fight Against Corruption in Europe’s Emerging Economies


Breaking trade barriers with CIS has never been easier

Günter Verheugen: Populist Politics and Euroscepticism Will Have an Impact on CEE

eu guenter verheugen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *