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Belarus

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International investors have been active in Belarus – where they are largely involved in syndicated loan transactions and other project financings– despite the local and regional economic crisis having a marked impact on the country’s financial and transactional market. The technology sector is seen as critical to economic development in Belarus, and is supported by special economic zones with special tax and legal regimes, such as the Belarus High Technologies Park. European investors provide sustained investment into Greenfield projects, and are also active in the thriving transport, pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors. There is considerable interest in the financial services sector, with blockchain and cryptocurrency currently hot topics in the market. Dispute resolution work mainly centres around tax and debt recovery, with insolvency and restructuring litigation also accounting for a significant proportion of firms’ caseloads.

The growing legal market in Belarus includes a number of relatively well-established one-site firms operating in Minsk, such as Borovtsov & Salei, Revera and Sysouev, Bondar, Khrapoutski; some more recent joiners to the Belarusian market, including Stepanovski, Papakul and partners and Arzinger & Partners; and a number of international legal practices with offices in Russia and other Eastern European states, such as Sorainen, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners and Verkhovodko & Partners LLC.

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Legal Developments in Belarus

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  • Formation of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan

    Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan will adopt new unified customs tariff and non-tariff regulations from January 1, 2010, and the Customs Union (the “CU”) of the three countries of the Eurasian Economic Community (the “EurAsEC”) will become a reality. The CU Customs Code (the “Customs Code”) is expected to take effect from July 1, 2010 to regulate the resulting integral customs zone.
  • Belarus Amends its Investment Legislation

    On 6 August 2009, the President of the Republic of Belarus signed Decree No. 10 On the Creation of Additional Conditions for Investing in Belarus. An investment contract is one of the ways of investing in the Republic of Belarus and enables an investor to obtain State support for an investment project and a waiver of sovereign immunity from suits, cautionary judgments, and enforcement of judgments and/or arbitration awards. Decree No. 10 introduces a new procedure for entering into investment contracts. It allows investors to be granted preferences and privileges under investment contracts, in addition to those granted under existing legislation, and also regulates the privileges to be granted to investors automatically upon execution of investment contracts.
  • Belarus Trademark Law Amended

    On July 15, 2009 Belarus passed the Law on the Introduction of Amendments to the Law of Republic of Belarus on Trademarks and Service Marks, which comes into force on January 25, 2010. The rationale behind the amendments is to bring Belarusian law in line with European countries’ laws - to facilitate eventual accession of the country to the WTO, and also to reflect new developments in case law.

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