Published On: Wed, Dec 28th, 2016

Belarus Wants Equal Conditions for FEZs on EEU Market

nsnbc: Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko stressed that there is a need to create at least equal conditions for the operation of the country’s Free Economic Zones on the market of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

Alexander Lukashenko. Courtesy BelTa (archives)

Alexander Lukashenko. Courtesy BelTa (archives)

Speaking through the Belarussian State news agency BelTa, Lukashenko said: “In the near future, starting from 1 January 2017, the terms of work of FEZ resident companies will change significantly. The documents passed within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union abolish certain customs privileges. We have to take these requirements into account,” the President said. “At the same time, in the tough competition for investors’ capital our free economic zones should not become less competitive on the platform of the Eurasian Economic Union. It is needed to create at least equal conditions for their operation on the EEU market.”

Lukashenko noted that his government has prepared proposals in the form of a draft decree aimed at raising the investment appeal of FEZs and stimulating the investment activities of resident companies. He emphasized that the creation of favorable conditions for investment activities on the territory of Belarus is an important tool for ensuring the dynamic development of the economy. “This is the main task for the government,” he said.

He added that one of the priorities of such work is the formation of free economic zones. When they were established, it was supposed that these zones will be the centers of investment appeal in Belarus, will help raise the export of products and create new jobs. “It was planned to create attractive new jobs in knowledge-intensive industries,” he noted.

The session was attended by the government officials supervising the performance of free economic zones, people involved in the development of the corresponding legal framework, representatives of FEZ administrations responsible for the investment raising and creation of new jobs, and directors of FEZ resident companies. Lukashenko raised a number of questions of what was describes as being of “crucial importance” at the session. These include the measures that should be taken to cover the losses of FEZ resident companies and preserve favorable business conditions for them; the efforts to enhance the competitiveness of products on conventional markets.

The Belarussian President reportedly also wondered if the submitted proposals help support existing companies and stimulate the inflow of new external and internal investments. “We should not be too slow to act. Principled decisions are needed today because on 1 January 2017 the resident companies of free economic zones will start working in new economic conditions,” Alexander Lukashenko concluded. Belarus is supporting the EEU but aims at maintaining sovereignty with regard to trade with the European Union, an independent Belarussian policy with regard to Belarussian – EU relations, trade with China, which is an important trading partner, and other countries, among them a number of African countries.

F/AK – nsnbc 28.12.2016

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