Business environment in the country. Key events
In recent years, the country has been taking specific steps to improve the business climate. Enhanced legislation on foreign currency turnover, bankruptcy has been passed, economic crimes have been decriminalized. Recently, the government has been actively trying to improve the investment climate—which manifests, among other things, in more liberal legislation.
The “thaw” continued in 2019. As of March 1, all current foreign currency transactions between residents and non-residents are carried out without any restrictions. Foreign currency transactions by residents related to the movement of capital in most cases used to require the Belarusian National Bank’s permission. As of March 1, 2019, the permission-based procedure has essentially been replaced with a registration (application-based) one.
A special Presidential Decree No. 7 was adopted to develop entrepreneurial initiative and foster business activity. Among other things, it changed economic insolvency (bankruptcy) procedures by abolishing subsidiary responsibility of a legal entity’s founders (participants), its head or other authorized decision makers both with respect to untimely submission of the petition by a debtor and for omission entailing economic insolvency (bankruptcy). Since 2018, the only valid grounds for bringing such persons to subsidiary responsibility is their culpable (intentional) actions resulting in the legal entity’s economic insolvency (bankruptcy). The Decree envisages important concessions facilitating the development of small and medium-sized businesses.
Criminal legislation also features certain liberalization tendencies concerning economic crimes. Since July 2019, a number of crimes against business operation procedures have been decriminalized, namely: “Violation of the procedure for opening accounts outside the Republic of Belarus,” “Obstruction of legitimate entrepreneurial activities,” “False entrepreneurship,” “Violation of antitrust legislation,” “Discrediting competitor’s business reputation.” Also, there has been a substantial increase of thresholds for large (from 250 to 1,000 base units/~$12,750) and especially large amounts of damage (from 1,000 to 2,500 base units/~$31,875); exceeding these entails criminal liability for offenses against business operation procedures.
IT sector. The Decree of the Belarusian President “On the digital economy development” (aka Decree No. 8) created unprecedented conditions for IT development: numerous benefits and preferences for the Hi-Tech Park residents. There is ongoing legal framework development in such innovative areas as cryptocurrency and tokens.
Click here for more details on the benefits for IT companies offered in Belarus.