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Belarus looks to china for investment investment operations middle office

Belarus looks to china for investment

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Petrochemical goods such as plastic are another important export category. On the other hand, the share of machinery, industrial products and electronics in Belarusian exports to China is negligible. Until , agricultural exports from Belarus to China were virtually non-existent. Potash is still the main commodity in bilateral trade. It was heavily criticized by Russia-based Uralkali, one of the largest competing potash producers.

Belarus-China agreements benefiting from Chinese tied loans usually bind Belarusian companies to purchase percent of project equipment from China. Many of the most problematic large investment projects in Belarus were financed with Chinese loans, a December governmental meeting acknowledged. These problematic investments include the Svietlahorsk pulp and paper plant and the Dobrush paper plant. The factory was originally planned to launch in but deadlines have been repeatedly postponed. In August the Belarusian side announced it will finish construction of the factory independently.

The project started in with completion planned for The Belarusian side ended the contract with Xuan Yuan in , claiming that the company was not capable of finishing the project due to its lack of relevant experience. The Chinese company, in turn, criticized Belarusian regulations and excessive bureaucracy. While visiting Dobrush, Lukashenko promised to have a serious discussion with Chinese leader Xi Jinping about the sloppy work of Chinese companies in Belarus.

Belarusian pulp and paper plants are not the first largescale failures among Belarus-China investment projects. A cautionary tale of three Belarusian cement factories took place over a decade ago. The modernization of these three cement factories took longer and was more expensive than initially projected. Great Stone was intended to become a self-contained manufacturing, urban and high-technology center with infrastructure allowing for a city of 50, inhabitants.

The Suzhou Industrial Park was heavily loss-making for six years and was nearly closed by Luckily, its profound reorganization ultimately resulted in a success story. Moscow fully understands the game Lukashenko is playing with Beijing, sees no big threat to itself in his efforts, and so makes no attempt to put a spoke in the wheel. Meanwhile, Moscow and Beijing reach understandings among themselves and occasionally even coordinate their actions. Besides, most Chinese projects in Belarus fall short of expectations, while even successful ones are not without flaws.

On August 10, news outlets reported only that Lukashenko was reelected with 80 percent of the vote. As the protests have gained momentum, the press has paid them more and more attention. The statements of Chinese officials have been equally delicate. In lending themselves to countless interpretations, they have brought to mind how Chinese diplomats reacted to questions about the status of Crimea after its annexation by Russia — in a way that struck whoever was listening as an affirmation of their own position.

In any case, China simply has no real means of influencing events in Belarus. Hence its adoption of the highly reliable tactic of avoiding loud statements and leaving the action to Russia, which has more instruments of influence and for which the stakes are higher.

To be sure, Beijing finds working with Lukashenko easy. Should he manage to remain in power, it will continue to deepen relations with Minsk. But if he is ousted, China will search for a common language with whoever replaces him. A Lukashenko successor, for their part, will not have the option of ignoring a partner like the PRC, which Belarus needs much more than China needs Belarus.

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As for Lukashenko, he has managed to leverage growing friction with Moscow into a rekindling of relations with Washington and steady flow of investment from China. While Belarus remains a member of such Russian-led groups as the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Moscow-dominated military bloc, it has created room to rebuff advances from Moscow.

Belarus has so far averted Kremlin pressure to host a Russian military base, refrained from formally recognizing Crimea as part of Russia, and pressured Moscow to withdraw its ambassador after Minsk accused him of treating Belarus as a Russian province. This has led Lukashenko to lean on China to lessen his financial dependence on Russia.

Unlike Washington, Beijing also makes no demands to ease repression at home—or to surrender control over certain state-owned entities, as Moscow has called for. The park itself is still a work in progress, with factories still under construction and its wide boulevards mostly empty. After Moscow refused to sell its Iskander missile system at a discount, Minsk turned to Beijing, which played a key role in helping Belarus build its own missile system, the Polonez, which was completed in and interpreted as a move by Minsk to strengthen its own defenses against Moscow following the annexation of Crimea.

According to Kenneth Yalowitz, who served as U. He was formerly an associate editor. Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola. Tensions between Moscow and Brussels have led to a dangerous militarization of Eastern Europe. But Minsk is showing an alternative. View Comments. For instance, company-resident is free from tax on profit for 10 years since first profit is generated.

The companies are free from land tax and real estate tax. Residents are also exempted from customs duties and VAT when importing equipment for project implementation. Grandfather clause provides companies with investment protection for 10 years. An investor can get land plots on the Park territory for up to 99 years or take it into a private ownership. At the very beginning, logistics were an important part of the Park.

Nevertheless, Great Stone is not only industrial and logistic area. It is going to be eco-city with comfortable living conditions for up to , citizens. Later on, kindergartens, schools, hospitals, shopping malls, sport and recreation centers will be built. China—Belarus Industrial Park is the largest industrial park in Europe among the parks established by China. The development of the Park is also focused on creating financing opportunities.

In July the "club of investors" estimated for 20 million USD has been created. Great Stone Industrial Park has three level management structure : 1. Intergovernmental coordination council; 2. Great Stone Industrial Park Administration; 3. Park Administration is responsible for any administrative procedures in the Park territory and registration of residents. If required, resident may apply to single authority — Park Administration — for any administrative procedure, such as company registration, licensing, construction permits, etc.

If requested by the Park Administration, any public authority shall arrive at the park territory in order to support residents. Industrial Park Development Company is responsible for construction of infrastructure, land plot allotment and attraction of investors. Moreover, it provides investors services on water, gas, electricity, internet supply and other facilities. Thus, created management structure makes it easier for foreign investors to adapt to new area, protect their rights and simplify any administrative procedures.

Detailed explanation can be found in the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus No of There are 56 companies that are registered as Great Stone Industrial Park residents. Among them you can find the following companies:. The project was criticised in Belarus. Main conflict referred to possible demolition of property, negative environmental impact and limited access to natural resources in Smolevichi district, Minsk region.

One of the leaders of the protest campaign, Andrey Dmitriev, noted that they succeeded in getting guarantees of property protection. Former Head of investment department in the Ministry of Economy, Kirill Koroteev, said that the land plots will not be confiscated without the consent of the land owner.

In particular, there will not be any polluting industries in Great Stone. Everyone will get everything. We will not infringe on or offend our people.

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Before , Beijing had planned on making Ukraine its economic bridge to the EU. It is not far away from the sea ports and there are numerous European land transits going through Belarus. In , Xi Jinping became the first Chinese leader to set foot in Belarus in over a decade.

The blossoming relationship extends to military cooperation, including joint development of weapons. After watching the Ukraine crisis unfold, Belarus felt threatened by Russia's military exercises on its border and by Moscow's demands to open a military base on its soil. Minsk also felt snubbed by Russia's refusal to sell its Iskander missile system at a discount. Once again, Belarus turned to China.

Shevtsov told the Nikkei Asian Review that Beijing played a major role in helping the country develop its own missile system -- the Polonez. Initially, upon its introduction in , the system was even fitted with Chinese A rockets. Russia does not regard China's growing economic influence in Belarus -- and the rest of the former Soviet Union -- as inherently problematic, according to Alexander Lukin, a China expert at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

Moscow certainly prefers having China operate in its backyard than the U. He argued that Belarus now has an incentive to strengthen ties with the EU to bolster its standing in China's Belt and Road. Sivitski noted that while Russia strongly opposed Ukraine signing the EU association agreement in , China urged Kiev to do so. That could foreshadow a "peculiar geopolitical competition" between Russia and China in the post-Soviet space, he suggested -- a competition in which Beijing encourages partners like Belarus to look west.

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Copy Copied. Read Next. In any case, China simply has no real means of influencing events in Belarus. Hence its adoption of the highly reliable tactic of avoiding loud statements and leaving the action to Russia, which has more instruments of influence and for which the stakes are higher. To be sure, Beijing finds working with Lukashenko easy. Should he manage to remain in power, it will continue to deepen relations with Minsk.

But if he is ousted, China will search for a common language with whoever replaces him. A Lukashenko successor, for their part, will not have the option of ignoring a partner like the PRC, which Belarus needs much more than China needs Belarus. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

Support The Moscow Times! Contribute today. By Temur Umarov. The views expressed in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the position of The Moscow Times. Read more about: Belarus , China. Read more. Until only recently, world leaders were certain that the global economy and increased