23 March 2018
Belarus: Market Profile
Major Economic Indicators
- Belarus is a landlocked nation, bordering Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. Due to its strategic location, it is an important trade and transport route in Eurasia. The country’s transportation infrastructure consists of a broad network of motorways, railways and air routes. The thoroughfares crossing the country – including two Pan-European corridors (II and IX) – are the most important component of the European transportation system.
- Being a founding member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Belarus serves not only as a gateway to 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 cross Belarus, of which 90% is bound for either Russia or the EU.
- With few mineral resources of its own, Belarus 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.
- A number of preferential regimes has been put in place to facilitate investment, including special incentives for business within six free economic areas (0% profit tax for five years; 10% VAT), the High-Tech Park (0% profit tax for 15 years; 0% VAT), and the Belarusian-Chinese Industrial Park (0% profit tax for 10 years). More information on the investment environment and the relevant regulations can be found at the National Agency of Investment and Privatization.
- The inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Belarus amounted to US$1.24 billion in 2016, with China contributing US$160 million. As of the end of 2016, China’s total stock of FDI to Belarus topped US$498 million, up from US$0.3 million in 2007. Hong Kong, holding an FDI position of US$3.8 million as of end-2016, was the fourth-largest Asian investors in Belarus, behind only the Chinese mainland, South Korea and Singapore.
- As an important step in accommodating greater synergies between Hong Kong and Belarus, HKSAR passport holders have been allowed to visit Belarus visa-free for 14 days from 13 February 2018, following the entry into force of the Comprehensive Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (CDTA) between Hong Kong and Belarus on 30 November 2017.
Hong Kong's Trade with Belarus
More information on the Belt and Road countries’ economic and investment environment, tax and other subjects that are important in considering investment and doing business are available in The Belt and Road Initiative: Country Business Guides.