OREANDA-NEWS. October 16, 2008. There are plans to attract over USD 7 billion of foreign investments into the Belarusian economy, First Deputy Economy Minister of Belarus Piotr Zhabko told a press conference on October 15.

In his words, in H1 2008 foreign direct investments amounted to USD 1.23 billion. “It is virtually equal to the amount of foreign direct investments received in 2007 and three times as much as in 2005,” noted the First Deputy Economy Minister. In 2005 Belarus’ economy attracted USD 1.8 billion of foreign investments, in 2006 — almost \\$4 billion, in 2007 — USD 5.4 billion. The dynamics proves the effectiveness of the measures taken by the government to improve Belarus’ investment climate, noted Piotr Zhabko.

At present Russia is the largest investor country (33.2% of the gross foreign investments in January-June 2008). Russia is followed by Switzerland (20.2%), the UK (14.2%) and Austria (10.7%). In early 2008 the number of joint ventures and foreign-owned companies exceeded 4,200, 10% up on the year.

Piotr Zhabko remarked, Belarus is attractive for foreign investors thanks to the political and economic stability, rapid economic growth, a favourable geographical location. In addition to that, Belarus boasts highly qualified workforce, high scientific and technical potential as well as progressive investment legislation.

Piotr Zhabko reminded, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2009 report, Belarus moved 30 positions up in the doing business rating and now occupies the 85th position among 181 countries.

Piotr Zhabko noted, Belarus intends to be one of the world’s thirty countries most attractive for doing business. The official explained, to reach the goal the tax system will have to be perfected, the tax burden on the economy will have to be reduced, with bureaucratic barriers to business removed. Apart from that, the National Investment Agency should become a one-stop welcome desk for investors.