Route to Eastern Europe
Belarus – Foreign Investment Paulina Smykovskaya - Associate Attorney Stepanovski, Papakul and Partners LLC +375-17 2094483 firstname.lastname@example.org www.spplaw.by
Investments in Belarus are regulated by the Investment Code, the Civil Code and the Law “On Commercial Companies”. The latter two documents have undergone substantial changes during 2010 to simplify and harmonise legislation as well as to further protect the interest of business owners. Moreover, further changes to the legislation are planned. On January 1, 2011 a new Presidential Edict on licensing of commercial activities enters into force. It substantially reduces the list of activities that are subject to special permissions. Another document that is under consideration at the moment is Presidential Directive No. 4 that foresees a list of measures and steps for liberalisation of investments, taxation, labour market regulation and financing. And although it has not yet been adopted, certain measures (such as changes in licensing, price formation and taxation) are already being undertaken. The Law Company “Stepanovski, Papakul and Partners” renders a full range of legal services to companies on various stages of their business activities, including project set-up, company registration, operational support and protection of investors’ rights on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. Clients of “Stepanovski, Papakul and Partners” are mainly Belarusian and foreign state and privately owned enterprises, multinational companies and corporations implementing long term investment projects in the Republic of Belarus. The firm maintains partnership relations with the following companies: Pepeliaev, Goltsblat and partners (Russia), KM
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Partners (Ukraine), Goltsblat BLP (Russia), Astapov Lawyers (Ukraine), Beiten Burkhardt (Germany, Russia), Eversheds (United Kindom), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (United Kindom), EnterInvest (Belarus). The size of the firm and its partnerships with law firms abroad enable “Stepanovski, Papakul and Partners” to provide comprehensive and efficient services. Most of the firm’s clients interested in investing in Belarus are strategic and express interest in such industries as banking, construction, FMCG, distribution, telecommunication, insurance and IT. The biggest challenges that a foreign investor faces are related to the peculiarities of Belarusian legislation that are unfamiliar to the investor. For example, a foreign investor who intends to buy shares in a Belarusian company should bear in mind that an escrow agreement cannot be concluded with a Belarusian resident, as such contract is not foreseen in the Belarusian law. Neither does Belarusian legislation foresee possibility to enforce a shareholders’ agreements (e.g. with provisions such as put or call options). Law firm “Stepanovski, Papakul and Partners” suggests solutions and alternative mechanisms of protecting investors’ interests. The firm provides clients with information and advice necessary to choose the right form of entering the Belarusian market (e.g. incorporate a company with or without foreign investments, open a representative office, invest in the existing business) and supervises the process. The firm has achieved many successes due to its experienced staff with high ethical standards. Basic principles of their work include strict compliance with professional ethics, professional approach, priority of clients’ interests, longterm cooperation, confidence and consistency.