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28 July 2011

Belarus signs $15.3bn worth of investment agreements

MINSK, 27 July (BelTA) - Belarus has concluded more than 700 investment agreements worth $15.3 billion, Kirill Koroteev, head of the main directorate of investments of the Economy Ministry, told reporters on 27 July. “So far the Republic of Belarus has signed more than 700 investment agreements. These agreements will be in force well after 2011. The money will be invested over several years. But the estimated amount of the investment agreements is about $15.3 billion,” said Kirill Koroteev. Investment agreements are one of the most important tools in attracting foreign direct investment in Belarus. Since 2006 the inflow of foreign direct investments in Belarus has been on the rise. In 2006 the inflow increased by $748 million, in 2010 by $5.5 billion. In Q1 2011 Belarus attracted $2.9 billion. In 2011 the country is set to raise $6.5 billion in foreign direct investment. “This is a projected figure. We keep this target in mind and are doing our best to meet it,” Kirill Koroteev said. In the past five years the volume of foreign direct investments on a net basis (debt for goods excluded) has grown tenfold. For example, foreign direct investments on a net basis made up $112 million in 2006, $1.7 billion in 2009, $1.2 billion in 2010. In the five months of 2011 the volume of foreign direct investments on a net basis totaled $743 million. According to Kirill Koroteev, there is growth and adjustment, which corresponds to the requirement spelled out in the UNCTAD report. Thus, Belarus is coming out from the recession, when the inflow of investment in 2009 was higher than the one in 2010. Belarus has implemented some institutional reforms to raise more foreign direct investments. For example, the country has set up the National Agency for Investment and Privatization. This organization is already operational, and is hiring personnel. “We are anxious to see it operate at full capacity. We pin big hopes on the agency,” said Kirill Koroteev. In addition, a new decree comes into force in August. It simplifies the procedure for concluding investment agreements, provides new benefits to investors. Work is also underway to prepare the new edition of the Investment Code, Law on Investment. In 2011, the strategy will be adopted to attract foreign investments. The document will identify investment priorities and the areas which require foreign investment first and foremost. According to the Economy Ministry, the measures approved by Government Resolution No. 942 to implement the program of social and economic development of Belarus for 2011-2015 will also help liberalize the economy, remove administrative barriers, and improve the investment environment.