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Belarus: Market Profile

Graph: Belarus factsheet
Graph: Belarus factsheet

1. Overview

Economic growth has been accompanied by a substantial decrease in the number of households below the poverty line and an increase in household income among the bottom 40% over the past few decades. However, the factors that enabled Belarus' past achievements are no longer in play. Limited structural reforms and a modest expansion of the private sector have weighed on Belarus' economic transition. The capacity of capital accumulation to drive economic growth is waning, energy subsidies stemming from bilateral agreements with Russia are smaller and public debt ratios to GDP are rising, all against a backdrop of weakened foreign exchange reserves. A sustainable improvement in living standards will, therefore, require economic, social and institutional transformation, with an enhanced role for private enterprise – among others. While closer relations with the European Union will bode well for much-needed political reforms and greater transparency at state-level, this is unlikely to significantly reduce the country’s economic reliance on Russia.

Sources: World Bank, Fitch Solutions

2. Major Economic/Political Events and Upcoming Elections

September 2016
President Alexander Lukashenko made a state visit to China during which the two countries agreed to advance the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as strengthen the synergy between Belt and Road development and the development of Belarus.

April 2018
The World Bank's Country Partnership Framework for 2018-2022 for Belarus, with a lending programme until 2022 (estimated at USD570 million), was endorsed. Assistance would focus on creating opportunities to expand the private sector and promote more efficient public investment.

August 2018
President Lukashenko dismissed Prime Minister Andrey Kabyakow and several key ministers. Sergei (Syarhei) Rumas, the former head of the development bank, took over.

December 2018
President Lukashenko voiced concern over Russia's planned introduction in 2019 of a new tax regime for oil which would potentially cost Belarus billions of dollars because of its re-exports of refined oil to the European Union (EU) and Commonwealth of Independent States.

April 2019
The Export-Import Bank of China and Belarusian Railway entered into a 65.7 million dollars loan agreement for the electrification of two sections of the country’s rail system. The project was scheduled to be completed in 2020.

June 2019
The Brest regional executive committee suspended the construction of a lead-acid battery plant scheduled to be constructed in the city. The project was a joint venture between Chinese and United States investors.

July 2019
Renewable energy company RECOM Solar announced that it would build a photovoltaic (PV) module factory in the country. The factory would be based 2 kilometres away from Minsk international airport and would become operation by end-October 2019.

August 2020
The presidential election will be held no later than the end of August 2020, with parliamentary elections due on September 10, 2020.

Sources: BBC Country Profile - Timeline, Fitch Solutions, World Bank, World Economic Outlook Database

3. Major Economic Indicators

Graph: Belarus real GDP and inflation
Graph: Belarus real GDP and inflation
Graph: Belarus GDP by sector (2018)
Graph: Belarus GDP by sector (2018)
Graph: Belarus unemployment rate
Graph: Belarus unemployment rate
Graph: Belarus current account balance
Graph: Belarus current account balance

e = estimate, f = forecast
Sources: Fitch Solutions, IMF, World Bank
Date last reviewed: July 21, 2019

4. External Trade

4.1 Merchandise Trade

Graph: Belarus merchandise trade
Graph: Belarus merchandise trade

Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: July 21, 2019

Graph: Belarus major export commodities (2018)
Graph: Belarus major export commodities (2018)
Graph: Belarus major export markets (2018)
Graph: Belarus major export markets (2018)
Graph: Belarus major import commodities (2018)
Graph: Belarus major import commodities (2018)
Graph: Belarus major import markets (2018)
Graph: Belarus major import markets (2018)

Sources: Trade Map, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: August 7, 2019

4.2 Trade in Services

Graph: Belarus trade in services
Graph: Belarus trade in services

Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: August 7, 2019

5. Trade Policies

  • Belarus, a founding member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), serves not only as a gateway to the EAEU's other signatories – namely Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan – but also to the whole regional market. Every year more than 100 million tonnes of European cargo crosses Belarus, of which 90% is bound for either Russia or the EU. Belarus' strategic location and role as a transport gateway at the crossroads of east-west and north-south trade routes, make the country of current and future interest to those wanting to develop transport initiatives to connect Asia with markets in central and Western Europe.

  • Under Belarus’ membership of the EAEU or EEU, products made in Belarus can be treated, subject to the country of origin rules, as Belarusian-made and exportable tariff-free to the other EAEU markets. This coupled with the country’s geographical proximity to most of the markets in Europe and well-connected road and rail transportation networks–helps to make Belarus an attractive destination for foreign manufacturing companies.

  • Belarus has been fulfilling all of the World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations since 2012. As these obligations, as well as Russian's obligations in the WTO are the basis of the EAEU legislation.

  • In 2016, a new composition of the Interministerial Commission on Belarus' accession to the WTO was set up. It is headed by the first deputy prime minister of Belarus. Apart from the government authorities, the commission includes representatives of business associations and non-governmental organisations.

  • Ambassador-at-large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was appointed as a chief negotiator for Belarus' accession to the WTO. 'As of 2017, there have been clear signals that Belarus sees WTO accession as one of the priorities for the government. This renewed high-level political engagement from Minsk has injected new impetus into the process and is very much supported by the WTO members', said Ambassador Kemal Madenoğlu (Turkey), chairperson of the Working Party. The 12th Ministerial Conference on the matter of Belarus' accession will be held in June 2020 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

  • Belarus has few mineral resources of its own and, therefore, is striving to stimulate foreign investment to promote privatisation, economic restructuring and innovative development. Priority areas include pharmaceuticals, food, transport and logistics, chemistry and petro-chemistry, mechanical engineering, renewable energy and IT.

Sources: WTO - Trade Policy Review, Fitch Solutions

6. Trade Agreement

6.1 Trade Updates

  • In May 2019, the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations announced that the negotiations between the EU and Belarus for the latter’s readmission into the Union, had been finalised. The parties plan to sign an agreement for the facilitation of visa processes initially, followed by Belarus readmission to the Union later in 2019.

  • In June 2019, Minister of State for Trade Policy at the Department for International Trade of the United Kingdom divulged that Belarus is one of the countries the United Kingdom is in discussions with regarding the possibility of entering into a Free Trade Agreement. The Minister identified the IT sector and the country’s Hi-Tech Pack as an area for possible collaboration between the two countries. In July 2019, Russia and Belarus agreed to begin preparing legislation to establish common industry markets by 2021.

  • In July 2019, Belarus entered in cooperation agreements with the regional governments of the Russian regions of Ingushetia and Saratov Oblast as well as the administration of the Smolensk Oblast region. The agreements cover areas including trade, economy as well as science and technology.

  • Dairy exports between Belarus and Russia were banned in March 2018. According to official data, in 2017 Belarus exported over USD5 billion worth of food and agricultural products in total, making it the fourth-largest export industry in Belarus, behind refined oil products, manufactured consumer goods, and machinery. Additionally, Russia is Belarus' largest export market, with the Russian market representing around 70% of food exports.

  • In August 2017, the president of the United States US, Donald Trump, signed into law a bill imposing increased sanctions on Russia. This stance meant that in June 2017 the United States sanctions against Belarus were extended for another year. Some relief to these sanctions was first granted to Belarus in 2015 by the then-president, Barack Obama, in an effort to better engage with the country.

6.2 Multinational Trade Agreements

Active

  1. EAEU: The EAEU allows for the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour and pursues a coordinated, harmonised single policy in the sectors determined by the treaty and international agreements within the union. The member states of the EAEU are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The launch of the EAEU in January 2015 marked a step forward in the formation of a common market based on the norms and principles of the World Trade Organization. Firms benefit from a large population and high industrial, scientific and technological potential. Firms within member states already trade extensively with each other and this will boost mutual growth in the medium term. However, they remain removed from the EU and other major trade blocs.

  2. The Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area (CISFTA): This Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is in force between Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The free trade zone (FTZ) was designed to reduce all trade fees on a number of goods between participating countries. Overall, the move will induce investments in Belarus' economy, ease trade and stimulate employment. In 2014, the turnover with CIS countries (excluding Russia) was USD8.2 billion. Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Moldova are Belarus' major trade partners, accounting for more than 95% of the country's exports to the CIS region (excluding Russia). Member states are, thus, aiming for more intense scientific and technical cooperation and further development in agriculture, transport, science, culture, education, sport and tourism.

  3. The agreement on the establishment of the Union State of Belarus and Russia: The strategic partnership with Russia is a result of geographical proximity, close historic and cultural links, and long-standing economic ties and cooperation between Belarusian and Russian businesses. The agreement (signed in 1999) sets up a legal basis for integration between the two countries. Russia is both a key trade partner and a major export market for Belarusian manufacturers. In 2017 the mutual trade amounted to USD31 billion, with exports to Russia reaching USD12.5 billion and imports from Russia reaching USD18.5 billion. Russia accounts for 50.7% of Belarusian foreign trade. In 2017, Belarus was Russia's fourth major trading partner, behind China, the Netherlands and Germany. Belarus and Russia cooperate in the area of energy resources. Belarus contributes significantly to regional energy security by fulfilling its obligations in terms of the transit of Russian energy resources to other European countries. Along with cooperation in the framework of the union state, the two countries support strengthening of multilateral cooperation and participate actively in other integration projects in the post-Soviet era. Businesses in Belarus benefit from subsidised raw materials from Russia, and economic integration with a considerably larger nation provides some financial support in times of crisis.

  4. EAEU-Vietnam: On May 29, 2015, after three years of negotiations, an FTA and economic integration agreement between the EAEU and Vietnam was signed. The agreement provides for significant tariff reduction for Belarusian exports to Vietnam (potash fertilisers, meat and dairy products, tractors, combines, trucks, refrigerators, medicines and food products). The agreement also provides for an efficient level of market protection for Belarusian producers. This agreement came into effect in October 2016.

Under Negotiation

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-EAEU: ASEAN and the EAEU are negotiating to strengthen trade ties. As the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) moves closer to completion, it is likely that the EAEU's efforts to liberalise trade with ASEAN will intensify. Firms in the EAEU can take advantage of the opportunities that this presents to boost trade with the more advanced economies in ASEAN. Companies will have the opportunity to expand these markets and service into a large consumer base. Asian fuel demand remains high and this will be of great benefit to Belarus. The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2018 on the framework for talks over the coming years.

Sources: WTO Regional Trade Agreements database, Fitch Solutions

7. Investment Policy

7.1 Foreign Direct Investment

Graph: Belarus FDI stock
Graph: Belarus FDI stock
Graph: Belarus FDI flow
Graph: Belarus FDI flow

Source: UNCTAD
Date last reviewed: August 7, 2019

7.2 Foreign Direct Investment Policy

  1. In policy, the Belarusian government maintains that it is highly welcoming of foreign direct investment (FDI). Incentives include the country's favourable geographical location, qualified workforce and various infrastructure. To date, FDI has predominantly focused on the transport, construction and industrial sectors, as well as the banking sector, mobile communications, commercial real estate development, food and beverage, and retail.

  2. According to a draft version of the country’s 2035 strategy for FDI (released in March 2019), the country is aiming for between USD1.5 million and USD1.6 million in FDI inflows by 2020, with the figure expected to rise to around USD3 billion by 2025.

  3. Belarus has bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in force with more than 50 countries and has signed BITs that are not yet in force, including one with the United States and a dozen others. Belarus has concluded double taxation agreements with 54 states, including one with Hong Kong which came into force on November 30, 2017.

  4. The HTP was established in Minsk in 2005 to promote IT in Belarus by offering IT firms a special regime. The regime has been extended until 2049, effective from March 2018, and the list of activities in which High-Tech Park (HTP) residents can engage has been expanded.

  5. Belarus has six Free economic zones (FEZs) established until December 31, 2049. The first FEZ was set up in 1996 in Brest, in the south west of Belarus near the Polish border, and the six which now exist are strategically located around the country – in Minsk, Gomel, Vitebsk, Grodno, Brest and Mogilev. These zones were set up to create strong private sector enterprise and investment in Belarus and offer a wide array of incentives to both foreign and domestic investors. Each is a customs-free zone and has its own administrative officers to help members. Joining a FEZ confers a 40% reduction in the tax burden compared with non-membership. Businesses wanting to register within a FEZ must make a minimum investment of EUR1 million and will receive tax incentives and streamlined bureaucratic procedures. So far, almost 270 foreign businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity.

  6. The Investment Code of Belarus provides for general rights and obligations for investors, although it has been described as fairly ineffective. Through the National Agency of Investment and Privatisation, there is a system of preferential taxation regimes for investment within FEZs, the HTP and the Great Stone Mainland China-Belarus Industrial Park (CBIP), as well as significant tax benefits for companies willing to be located in small towns and rural areas.

  7. The CBIP was created in 2012 with support from Mainland China as a hub for firms at the cutting edge of innovation and technology. The CBIP is located in Smolevichi near Minsk, and any company wanting resident status there must be involved in an industry such as telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology or big data storage and processing, and must make a minimum investment of USD5 million, or USD500,000 if pursuing a research project. As of July 2019, the CBIP hosted 55 companies and was reported to have amassed investment commitments amounting to around USD60 million.

  8. On January 9, 2019, the CBIP was granted the status of a territorial special economic zone (SEZ), giving companies located there the maximum customs advantages in the area of logistics and manufacturing provided for in the Customs Code (EAEUCC). The code permits territorial SEZs to be set up: one each in Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan; two in Belarus; and three in Russia. As a result, the CBIP is Belarus' first territorial SEZ.
Sources: WTO – Trade Policy Review, ITA, US Department of Commerce, National Agency of Investment and Privatization

7.3 Free Trade Zones and Investment Incentives

Free Trade Zone/Incentive ProgrammeMain Incentives Available
FEZ: Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev and Vitebsk- An FEZ resident is exempt from profits tax for five years beginning on the date on which profits are declared for the first time. After the end of the five-year period, the FEZ resident pays corporate profits tax at 50% of the standard rate, but the tax rate may not exceed 12%.

- FEZ residents may apply a reduced value-added tax (VAT) rate of 10% with respect to:

* Profits received from goods (works and services) manufactured by an FEZ resident and sold to other FEZ residents, foreign legal entities or foreign individuals. 

* Profits from goods manufactured by a resident of an FEZ and realized in Belarus if the goods are defined as substitutes for imported goods on the list specified by the government and approved by the President of Belarus.

- 50% discount on VAT on import substitution goods manufactured within an FEZ;

- No taxes on real estate owned or leased in the area;

- Exempt from payments to National Agriculture Support Fund;

- No tax on purchasing vehicles;

- No customs duty on raw materials and equipment imported from outside Belarus;

- A guarantee that legislation governing firms will not change for seven years;

- Each FEZ has its own administrative officers to help members. Member of the FEZs benefit from incentives such as streamlined bureaucratic procedures, as well as a 40% reduction in their tax burden compared with non-members.
HTP- Companies resident are exempt from income tax, property tax, VAT on goods produced in Belarus, customs duties and land tax for the construction period.

- Employees at the companies located there benefit from a reduced income tax rate.
CBIP- Companies resident benefit from a variety of incentives, including being exempted from income tax for 10 years and a reduced rate of 50% until 2062, no property tax until 2062, no income tax on dividends for five years after the income is declared, no land tax for the first 10 years and a reduced rate for the next 10 years.

- On January 8, 2019, the CBIP attained the status of territorial special economic zone under the customs code of the EAE. This means administration bodies, as well as commercial companies, can be located in the CBIP. In addition to the welcome simplification of various customs procedures, residents can set up clusters: one customs control zone will allow other residents to operate inside it. Residents can also rely on the principle of extraterritoriality and set up technological chains and establish corporate ties inside and outside the zone. The EAEU customs code then allows foreign products, which have been submitted to the free customs zone procedure, to be moved from the zone into the remaining territory of the EAEU.

Sources: US Department of Commerce, Fitch Solutions, National Agency of Investment and Privatization, national sources, EY

8. Taxation – 2019

  • Value Added Tax: 20%
  • Corporate Income Tax: 18%

Sources: Tax and Duties Ministry of the Republic of Belarus, National Agency of Investment and Privatization, Fitch Solutions

8.1 Important Updates to Taxation Information

On January 1, 2019, Belarus introduced its new Tax Code aimed at upholding state budget revenue while simplifying taxation and tax reporting in order to have a beneficial effect on business activity. A variety of simplification measures were introduced, including an increase for foreign companies in the revenue tax period from one month to one quarter.

Sources: Tax and Duties Ministry of the Republic of Belarus, National Agency of Investment and Privatization, Fitch Solutions

8.2 Business Taxes

Type of TaxTax Rate and Base
Corporate Income Tax- 18% on operating profits
- A rate of 25% applies to banks and insurance companies.
VAT- Standard rate of 20%

- A preferential rate of 10% applies to local supplies of crop products, livestock and locally produced fisheries, as well as to local supplies or imports of certain foodstuffs and goods for children.

- Supplying goods for export and related services is zero-rated.
Land Tax
Ranges from 0.025% to 3% depending on value determined by survey means (cadastral services)
Real Estate Taxes- Immovable property is taxed at an annual rate of 1% on the residual value of the property.

- As of January 1, 2019, progressive rates for new capital contractions were introduced. In effect, the real estate tax on building being constructed will start at 0.2% in its first year and increase by 0.2% over the five years until it reaches the normal level of 1%.
Social security contributions (health insurance, pension)- Belarus applies a social insurance contribution tax of 35%-34% of which is paid by employers. Out of the 34% paid out by employers, 28% contribute to pension funds, whereas the remaining 6% goes towards general social insurance. 1% of the overall 35% rate of contributions is withheld from employees' salaries for the purpose of payment to the social insurance contribution.

- Businesses are also responsible to pay for insurance involving potential workplace accidents. The rate applicable is a 0.6% flat tax. More danger-prone industries have different coefficients applied to the flat rate.
Withholding Taxes (applicable only to non-residents)- Dividends: 12% on net earnings
- Interest: 10% on net income
- Royalties: 15% on net earnings
- Technical Service Fees: 15% on net earnings

Sources: Tax and Duties Ministry of the Republic of Belarus, National Agency of Investment and Privatization, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: July 21, 2019

9. Foreign Worker Requirements

9.1 Foreign Worker Permits

If an employer wants to employ 10 foreign workers or more (excluding, for example, the CEO of a foreign company or highly skilled workers), they must apply for a special type of work permit from the Belarusian Ministry of Labour. The Belarusian government does not apply any strict caps on the number of foreign workers that can be hired and does not impose any strict hiring quotas (in terms of employing Belarusian citizens) that must be met. Only EAEU citizens and citizens of certain CIS members may work in Belarus without having to obtain a work permit. Citizens of all other states require an offer of employment beforehand, and there are various processes that must be completed before the work permit can be granted, which can be time consuming. The employer must first apply for a permit to be able to engage in hiring foreign workers from the Belarusian Ministry of Labour. Once this is obtained, various documents must be submitted to the Ministry of Labour for approval for the work permit to be granted.

9.2 Localisation Requirements

Foreigners temporarily staying in Belarus must register with the local unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs within five days from the date of arrival.

9.3 Visa/Travel Restrictions

A presidential decree effective from July 27, 2018 introduced visa-free travel to Belarus for citizens of 74 countries for stays of up to 30 days when entering and exiting through Minsk National Airport. Key markets include all European Union-member states, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, the United States and Japan. As an important step in encouraging greater synergy between Hong Kong and Belarus, from February 13, 2018 onwards Hong Kong citizens have been allowed to visit Belarus visa-free for 14 days, after the Comprehensive Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation between Hong Kong and Belarus came into force on November 30, 2017.

Sources: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Fitch Solutions

10. Risks

10.1 Sovereign Credit Ratings


Rating (Outlook)Rating Date
Moody's
B3 (Stable) 16/03/2018
Standard & Poor'sB (Stable) 06/10/2017
Fitch Ratings
B (Stable) 28/06/2019

Sources: Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings

10.2 Competitiveness and Efficiency Indicators


World Ranking
201720182019
Ease of Doing Business Index
37/19038/19037/190
Ease of Paying Taxes Index
99/19096/19099/190
Logistics Performance Index
N/A103/160N/A
Corruption Perception Index
68/18070/180N/A
IMD World CompetitivenessN/AN/AN/A

Sources: World Bank, IMD, Transparency International, national sources

10.3 Fitch Solutions Risk Indices


World Ranking
201720182019
Economic Risk Index RankN/A169/202166/202
Short-Term Economic Risk Score
34.246.042.5
Long-Term Economic Risk Score33.739.440.6
Political Risk Index RankN/A130/202131/202
Short-Term Political Risk Score
62.562.562.5
Long-Term Political Risk Score56.256.256.2
Operational Risk Index RankN/A63/20160/201
Operational Risk Score56.557.258.0

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: July 21, 2019

10.4 Fitch Solutions Risk Summary

ECONOMIC RISK
Belarus is heavily reliant on Russia for concessional loans and hydrocarbons exports. The state-dominated economy is the primary driver of employment and economic output, leaving Belarus at the mercy of external support in order to provide it with much-needed foreign exchange reserves. The build-up of debt at the country's state-owned enterprises and the continued misallocation of resources as a result of policy-driven lending practices, will ensure that growth remains weak over the coming years. The lack of meaningful structural reform, essential for long-term growth, also poses a near-term risk to economic stability. On the upside, the country benefits from a comparative advantage in relatively high-skilled areas, including heavy manufacturing, chemicals and refined fuel products, which could help to boost export growth.

OPERATIONAL RISK
The dominance of the Belarusian state across all sectors of the economy and Belarus’s heavy dependence on Russia for trade and economic assistance weighs on FDI opportunities. Businesses currently benefiting from inexpensive utility costs, owing to cheap Russian oil and gas, are at risk of experiencing shortages or blackouts in the event of any deterioration in relations with Moscow. Trade and economic diversification remains poor and reliant on Russia and the hydrocarbons sector, where both elements bear significant downside risks in the medium term. Companies also face high costs to trade due to a heavy bureaucratic burden, along with elevated labour taxes and social security contributions to employ workers. These risks are partly offset by Belarus' stable security environment, low crime levels and highly educated labour force, which improve the country's operating environment somewhat.

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: July 18, 2019

10.5 Fitch Solutions Political and Economic Risk Indices

Graph: Belarus short term political risk index
Graph: Belarus short term political risk index
Graph: Belarus long term political risk index
Graph: Belarus long term political risk index
Graph: Belarus short term economic risk index
Graph: Belarus short term economic risk index
Graph: Belarus long term economic risk index
Graph: Belarus long term economic risk index

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Political and Economic Risk Indices
Date last reviewed: July 21, 2019

10.6 Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index


Operational RiskLabour Market RiskTrade and Investment RiskLogistics RiskCrime and Security Risk
Belarus Score58.058.658.6
63.4
51.3
Central and Eastern Europe Average62.157.563.566.361.2
Central and Eastern Europe Position (out of 11)8687
8
Emerging Europe Average57.455.959.158.655.9
Emerging Europe Position (out of 31)16
111810
21
Global Average49.650.349.8
49.049.2
Global Position (out of 201)6049
684694

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index

Graph: Belarus vs global and regional averages
Graph: Belarus vs global and regional averages
Country
Operational Risk IndexLabour Market Risk Index
Trade and Investment Risk IndexLogistics Risk IndexCrime and Security Risk Index
Estonia71.4
62.9
76.3
72.1
74.3
Lithuania
69.6
60.2
71.4
75.6
71.0
Czech Republic
69.5
60.0
67.8
73.7
76.5
Poland
68.9
58.4
69.3
75.0
72.8
Latvia66.7
60.7
67.1
71.5
67.4
Slovakia
62.8
51.8
66.5
63.4
69.6
Hungary
62.7
55.6
62.0
66.9
66.3
Belarus58.0
58.7
58.6
63.4
51.3
Russia56.5
63.6
58.6
63.0
40.6
Moldova
48.7
41.7
51.7
52.2
49.3
Ukraine
48.358.5
49.0
52.0
33.6
Regional Averages62.1
57.5
63.5
66.3
61.2
Emerging Markets Averages46.9
48.6
45.4
47.4
46.1
Global Markets Averages49.6
50.3
49.8
49.0
49.2

Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index
Date last reviewed: July 23, 2019

11. Hong Kong Connection

11.1 Hong Kong’s Trade with Belarus

Graph: Major export commodities to Belarus (2018)
Graph: Major export commodities to Belarus (2018)
Graph: Major import commodities from Belarus (2018)
Graph: Major import commodities from Belarus (2018)

Note: Graph shows the main Hong Kong exports to/imports from Belarus (by consignment)
Date last reviewed: July 21, 2019

Graph: Merchandise exports to Belarus
Graph: Merchandise exports to Belarus
Graph: Merchandise imports from Belarus
Graph: Merchandise imports from Belarus

Note: Graph shows Hong Kong exports to/import from Belarus (by consignment)
Exchange Rate HK$/US$, average
7.75 (2014)
7.75 (2015)
7.76 (2016)
7.79 (2017)
7.83 (2018)
Sources: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: July 21, 2019


2018
Growth rate (%)
Number of Belarusian residents visiting Hong Kong274
-6.5

Sources: Hong Kong Tourism Board, Fitch Solutions


2018
Growth rate (%)
Number of European residents visiting Hong Kong1,961,4481.7

Sources: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs - Population Division, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: August 7, 2019

11.2 Commercial Presence in Hong Kong


2018
Growth rate (%)
Number of Belarus companies in Hong KongN/A
   
N/A
- Regional headquarters
- Regional offices
- Local offices


11.3 Treaties and agreements between Hong Kong and Belarus

  • As an important step in encouraging greater synergy between Hong Kong and Belarus, as of February 13, 2018 Hong Kong citizens have been allowed to visit Belarus visa free for 14 days, after the Comprehensive Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation between Hong Kong and Belarus came into force on November 30, 2017.

  • Belarus has a double taxation agreement with Mainland China.

  • Belarus has a BIT with Mainland China that came into force on January 14, 1995.

Sources: Hong Kong Department of Justice, Fitch Solutions

11.4 Visa Requirements for Hong Kong Residents

No visa is required for Hong Kong citizens for short stays (up to 14 days as per the January 2018 mutual agreement). However the Immigration Department of Hong Kong announced a mutual extension of visa-free period with Belarus in April 2019.

The period of mutual visa-free entry will be extended from up to 14 days to 30 days with effect from April 10, 2019. This is aimed to foster cooperation and exchanges between Hong Kong and the Belt and Road countries.

Source: Hong Kong Immigration Department
Date last reviewed: August 7, 2019

Content provided by Picture: Fitch Solutions – BMI Research
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