Preferences for the “Great Stone”
At the end of May, in Belarus, a new legal regime was introduced for the residents of the China-Belarus Industrial Park “Great Stone”, which is accessible to all legal entities located in the Park and registered by its administration.
First, the conditions for investment activities in the Park were simplified: the minimum amount of investments was reduced from 5 million USD to 500 thousand USD in case the investor is ready to invest this amount within 3 years from the date of concluding an agreement on investment activities.
Second, the cooperation of investors with the state bodies of Belarus was greatly facilitated. This goal is brought to life with help of “one station” system giving investors the opportunity to undergo administrative procedures required at the place of their location, without the necessity to visit various types of authorities. In addition, with respect to a number of procedures, the time frame for their completion has been shortened: for example, decisions on granting (withdrawing) a land plot shall now be taken within 3 calendar days, the acceptance of facilities into operation – within 30 days, the decision on issuing special permits for employment activities for foreigners – 5 calendar days.
Third, the Edict provides for a stabilisation clause for investors until 2027. If during this period any changes in the Belarusian legislation worsen their legal status, investors shall be entitled to apply norms being in effect at the time of the enactment of the Edict. In addition, any alterations to the legal regime of the Park shall be implemented only by means of corresponding amendments to the Edict.
Amendments concern the sphere of construction as well. Investors shall be entitled to construct facilities on the territory of the Park, applying technical regulations, which are in force in China or the European Union. Nevertheless, with regard to project documentation, a relevant state expertise of Belarus shall be required. Also, for the investors, the procedure of selecting contractors, taking constructed facilities into operation has been simplified.
Tax benefits are also believed to bring benefits for investors. These preferences include exemption from property tax, as well as from land tax in respect of land plots in the Park until 2062, from income tax – within 10 years from the date of receipt of the first profit (after a period of 10 years, a reduced tax rate 50% shall be applied), the exemption from paying VAT when acquiring works and services on the territory of Belarus for the implementation of projects, as well as certain other benefits.
These and some other provisions are in effect for the residents of the Park starting from the date of entry into force of the Edict – May 26, 2017.
Mikhail Khodosevich, Legal Assistant
Arzinger & Partners Law firm (Associate office of GRATA International Law firm in Belarus)