In Belarus investment activity is regulated by rules of the national and international legislation.
At the level of the national legislation questions concerning investment in the Republic of Belarus are regulated by the ‘Investment Act’, which establishes legal foundations, basic principles of investment implementation in the territory of the Republic of Belarus and regulations aimed at attracting investment in the economy of the Republic of Belarus, assurance of guarantees, rights and legitimate interests of investors, and also their equal protection. Belarus actively implements the state policy of supporting investments that is provided in the form of:
- guarantees by the Government of the Republic of Belarus provided to creditors in cases of attracting foreign credits or loans of banks of the Republic of Belarus for implementation of investment projects;
- centralized investment resources.
An additional type of state support for investment activities is the mechanism of the investment agreement. This tool allows the investor to establish additional guarantees for protecting its capital and simultaneously obtain preferential terms and preferences for the investment project implementation, including those not established by legislative acts.
Investment activity in respect of mineral resources, water bodies, forests, lands and objects that are only owned by the state or activities for which the exclusive right of the state extends can be carried out on the basis of a concession. In relation to subsoil, investment activities can also be carried out on the basis of the investment agreement.
Concession agreements are concluded on the basis of a tender or auction. Conclusion of concession contracts without holding a tender or auction is allowed:
- with the investor, who in due course carried out geological study of a subsoil area at his own expense;
- by decision of the President of the Republic of Belarus.
Special legal regimes with additional granting of benefits to the investor are introduced when implementing investment projects in free economic zones, in the High Technology Park, special tourist and recreational park Augustow Canal, Industrial Park, in medium, small urban settlements, rural areas, as well as small and medium-sized businesses.
Correspondence to international standards of conditions for insurance of risks of foreign investors is ensured by the full membership of Belarus in the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which, being the institution of the World Bank Group, allows investors to insure their implemented projects against political and non-commercial risks. For the moment agreements between the Government of the Republic of Belarus and MIGA have been concluded on the legal protection of guaranteed foreign investments and on the use of local currency.
In addition, in order to create favorable conditions and protect investments made by investors of one state in the territory of another state, the Republic of Belarus signed about 60 bilateral agreements on assistance in the implementation (promotion) and mutual protection of investments.
In particular, the above agreements provide the following guarantees:
- National treatment;
- most-favored-nation treatment;
- expropriation and compensation;
- other guarantees.
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