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free economic zones

 

As of early September 2000, Belarus had four free economic zones (FEZs) on its territory. The oldest and most developed one, located in the border city of Brest, was established in March 1996. The newest one, in the city of Vitebsk, was set up in February 1999. Established by presidential decrees, FEZs are an attempt to improve the business climate in the country and change the negative investment image that Belarus currently has in the world.

 

Belarus has always possessed some advantages that are attractive to potential investors. Unfortunately, the country’s favorable geographic position, developed infrastructure, and highly affordable and skilled work force have never been fully complemented with favorable and stable business legislation, and predictable treatment by central and local authorities.

 

Belarus FEZs seem to have started to change the situation for the better. As of July 1, 2000 Belarus FEZs hosted the total of 140 businesses, of which 101 (72 percent) have foreign investment. Leading foreign investors in Belarus FEZs are companies from Poland, Russia, and Germany,  U.S. investors . Eighty-four percent of all businesses in Belarus FEZs have already started their operations. Russia is the destination of 92 percent of exports from FEZ, while 76 percent of all imports come from outside the NIS.

 

           Major tax, customs, and other benefits of operating in an FEZ include:

Temporary exemption from the country’s 15 percent income tax (FEZ residents are 100 percent exempt from paying income tax for a period of 5 years, provided the income resulted from the sale of products and services produced by the residents themselves. There are some other substantial income tax benefits too.);

10 percent VAT;

No import and exports tariffs need to be paid when importing to, or exporting from, an FEZ, with the exception of a customs clearance fee. However, when exporting from the FEZ to the rest of the Belarusian territory or to any country of the Customs Union, customs tariffs are levied depending on the country of origin of a product. The Customs Union comprises Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Copyright By :  Kish Trade Promotion Center  2002