Article

Polish weekly Wprost compares Belarus to tax haven


Added on 16/02/2017

“Fifteen years' exemption from income tax, zero VAT rate, cheap labor and duty-free access to the 170-million strong market. A tax haven? No, it is Belarus,” reads the article, reports Belarus News.

It notes that Poland has finally started to open up towards Belarus. Belarus has long been open to Poland and only political issues were in the way of more extensive cooperation. During his visit to Belarus in October 2016, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Finance of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki talked about Poland's readiness to participate in the privatization programs of Belarusian companies.

Henryk Siodmok, President of the Board of ATLAS Group, which has 60% of its operations on the Belarusian market, noted that Belarusians are open to foreign investment. They have created economic zones where the investor does not pay income tax for five years, and where VAT is only 10%. Even more appealing in this regard is the Hi-Tech Park where the income tax and VAT are equal to zero within 15 years. “Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Customs Union and has access to the markets of Russia and Kazakhstan with 170 million consumers,” he said.

The Polish furniture producer Vox that opened a factory in FEZ Brest in 2009 also praises Belarus. The article expresses the opinion that foreign investors hold a privileged position in Belarus. They can work problem-free, and local authorities and administrations actively contribute to the cooperation. There is no lack of qualified personnel in Belarus either.

“The competition is considerably lower than here [in Poland] or in Western Europe. Because of the stereotypes about Belarus, nobody hurries to go work there. This is a mistake. Those who find their niche in this market will most probably come out as winners,” Henryk Siodmok said. It was noted that Belarus ranks 30th globally in the Doing Business 2017 report in terms of how long it takes to register an enterprise (Poland is placed 107th). The procedure allows for registering a company within one day.

“The number of Polish companies on the Belarusian market is growing. Conditions are in place for intensification of contacts. If the trade and migration barriers were removed, my Podlaskie region would get tremendous benefits,” said Professor Robert Ciborowski, University of Bialystok Rector. These barriers are gradually eliminated, and the recently introduced visa-free entry options contribute to this.

The article encourages Belarusian companies to enter the Polish market. Several companies have recently shown interest in getting listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (GPW).

 

The closeness of the cultures of the two countries was also highlighted as a favorable factor.