Belarus is located in the heart of Europe, at the crossroads of trade routes from the West to the East, and covers a total of 207,600 sq. km. It borders Lithuania and Latvia to the north, Ukraine to the south, Russia to the east, and Poland to the west. Minsk, the capital, is located on the same latitude as cities like Hamburg and Dublin and is only two time zones ahead of London. The costs of living, education, and various cultural events are lower than in the majority of European countries. The advantageous economic and geographical location, developed transportation, logistics, and manufacturing systems of the country, along with its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) of Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, creates unique opportunities for companies willing to develop business relationships in the Eurasian region.
Belarus strives to create open and favorable conditions for business. Today, Belarus occupies 37th place in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, and continues working to get into the top 30 by 2020. Belarus also ranks 5th by property registration, 53rd by HDI, and 44th by the Environmental Performance Index Ranking. It is making efforts to improve administrative procedures, taxation, pricing, licensing, preferential regimes for investors, and protection of their rights. It is planned to develop digital transport corridors, primarily between China and Europe, and to abolish the licensing system of international road transportation, which will be an additional incentive for the development of the transport and logistics sectors.
The government is currently working to further increase economic efficiency and develop beneficial relationships with strategic investors. It has already selected approaches for step-by-step privatization and has elaborated a number of market entry and localization related incentives. Priority sectors for investment and localization are: IT, woodworking, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and petrochemicals, textiles, transportation and logistics, banking and finance, mechanical engineering, agriculture and food production, and tourism. Today the country is the leader in legislation improvement, confirmed by the World Bank’s surveys, and has entered the top 10 countries which conduct business-friendly reforms.
The head of state introduced a 30-day visa-free regime for citizens of 74 states . Tourism without visas on the territory of the Augustow water canal and the city of Grodno is allowed for citizens of 77 countries for up to 10 days .
All of these aspects are likely to be considered by investors as a basis for further business expansion in Belarus.