On September 5, 2019, the 3rd International Legal Conference took place at the SCHNEIDER GROUP office in the House of German Economy in Moscow.
The event was hosted by Alex Stolarsky, Partner, Legal, Compliance, Tax & Interim Management at SCHNEIDER GROUP, and consisted of a discussion panel, 6 workshop sessions on labeling in Russia, liability of directors in Russia, anti-BEPS measures in Russia, tax issues in Belarus, new tax code in Armenia, and current changes and reforms in the legislation of Kazakhstan. In the initial discussion panel our speakers from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan summarized the general investment climate in their countries and how international businesses are attracted in the different jurisdictions.
In a history overview, Nodir Ayupov, Head of SCHNEIDER GROUP’s Tashkent office, reflected on the first reforms and economic issues Uzbekistan faced in the 1990s, namely currency conversion issues and outdated tax and import/export regimes. He emphasized the main reforms which had the most significant effect on the country’s economy: currency conversion reforms, the restructuring of state bodies, a new tax code, and a reformed labour code providing simplified conditions for foreigners.
Dina Jazylbekova, Head of SCHNEIDER GROUP’s Legal Department in Kazakhstan explained that the first major investments in Kazakhstan were made in the oil and gas sector in the 1990s, and later in engineering and construction. Since 2012, the country has improved measures for protecting investments. Initiatives like the Astana International Financial Centre or Kazakh Invest promote sustainable socio-economic development of the Republic of Kazakhstan by attracting foreign investment in priority sectors of the economy and comprehensively supporting investment projects. Furthermore, Special Economic Zones play a future role in the diversification of the country’s economy and investment environment.
The new Head of Corporate Law Practice, at SCHNEIDER GROUP Moscow, Alexandr Titkov, talked about the latest trends and reforms in the Russian legislation: restricting offshore options, creating bills in accordance with British Common Law while having other voices in favor of Continental / German Law, a general liberalization and more transparency in corporate law, simplifying taxation, and developing e-procurement systems and new electronic/digital legal tools.
In Belarus, compliance is considered a priority for most international businesses. Changes in corporate governance have been observed in recent years, primarily restructuring companies’ director functions and management, according to Sergey Odintsov, Head of SCHNEIDER GROUP’s Tax & Legal Department in Minsk.
Similar trends regarding compliance can be observed in Armenia, due to significant investments from banks and financial organizations, according to Diana Movsesyan, Head of SCHNEIDER GROUP’s Pharma Competence Center in Yerevan. Traditionally, Russian corporations are very active market participants in Armenia, while today, due to Armenia’s association with the EU and membership in the EAEU, international businesses are increasingly becoming important market players. Current changes in the legislation concern responsibilities and liabilities of managers, directors, and heads of accounting.
The conference was rounded off by a Q&A session, where attendees posed further questions to the experts.