Belarus - Prime Minister of Belarus awarded winners and laureates of the national competition Best Entrepreneur 2008

The small businesses occupy a prominent place in the Belarusian economy, Sergei Sidorsky said at the solemn ceremony. They contribute to sound competition and consumer goods production growth, create new jobs and help improve the well-being of people. The Premier informed that in 2008 the number of small businesses increased over 30% up to 68,000. The average headcount rose to 536,000 employees, up 25% from 2007. The small businesses accounted for 9.3% of the country's GDP, while their proceeds accounted for 20.7%. The capital investment in small businesses more than doubled, their profitability was about 17% which is higher than the national average.

The small and medium-sized business should account for up to 30% of the total sales proceeds by the end of 2010, Prime Minister said. This will be achieved through vigorous business activity, an increase in the number of enterprises, an influx of investment, broader access to loans and other significant factors of business growth, Sergei Sidorsky said. The small business employs about 23-25% of all workforce. "In this five-year period the Government will encourage greater contribution of entrepreneurship to the economic development of the country.

In the near future a series of regulations to further improve the terms of doing business will be adopted in Belarus, Prime Minister said.

Over ten types of business activities and 55 constituents of business activities (works and services) will no longer require licensing. The number of documents needed to get the license will be reduced. The activities where licensing will be abolished include woodworking, transport, forwarding and tourism. "The licensing in retailing and public catering will apply only to the retail trade in alcoholic beverages and tobacco," he said.

Apart from that, on 1 January 2010, the tax that is paid to the fund for the support of agricultural producers, the tax on retail sales and purchase of vehicles will be abolished. All this will help ease the burden on enterprises.

The frequency of tax administration will be simplified.

In return, the government expects entrepreneurs to enhance their community involvement and boost exports, Sergei Sidorsky underlined. He added that the government is interested in the regional development by means of small and medium-sized business.

A draft decree meant to stimulate the export of Belarusian commodities by private businessmen will be forwarded for consideration of the President of Belarus this week. The statement was made by Prime Minister.

"A document has been worked out to regulate earnings and operation conditions of entrepreneurs," reminded Sergei Sidorsky. "It is virtually ready and will be forwarded to the President soon, this week".

The Prime Minister underlined that the present state of the global economy, the falling demand both home and abroad pushes the need to find new mechanisms to promote Belarus-made products abroad to the forefront. Several normative legal documents have been prepared in Belarus to encourage export, sales of merchandise and services.

Sergei Sidorsky also pointed out the need to steer away from grey operation schemes. "Together with colleagues from the Russian Federation we have done a lot in this area. We have slowed down the grey import of commodities from eastern countries, primarily Turkey and China," said the Premier. He reminded that the Cherkizovsky market in Moscow had been shut down. "Today opportunities are open for those willing to enter new niches and open new business branches," believes Sergei Sidorsky. Apart from that, Belarus works with Ukraine and Kazakhstan a lot in this area.

The head of Government also said that this month a wholesale market for entrepreneurs should be opened in Belarus.

Taking part in the national competition Best Entrepreneur 2008 were 891 companies, of them 15 became the winners and 32 the laureates of the competition. The competition was held in 16 nominations.

The Belarusian-Italian joint venture Relouis Bel won the contest in the nomination for the Best Entrepreneur in Consumer Goods Production, the Belmyasprominvest private enterprise (Minsk) won in the nomination for the Best Entrepreneur in Food Production.

The R&D company Berlio was announced the best manufacturer of industrial goods. In construction, the best was SBA Stroirecycling (Brest oblast), In healthcare services, the main prize went to the foreign private enterprise Medindustriya Service of the Bishop Medical Supplies Limited (Minsk), in tourism to the private enterprise Sakvoyazh (Brest).

The private company Novita (Minsk) became the winner in the public catering nomination, while the prize in the distributive trades nomination went to the Innovation Company Optima Trade. Individual entrepreneur Igor Mironov received the governmental prize for providing best services, while individual entrepreneur Dmitry Olekhnovich was the winner in the nomination for providing best healthcare services.

The Konstantin agricultural company (village of Korzeyevo, Dribin region of the Mogilev oblast) was announced the best farming enterprise. Novopolotsk Centre of Entrepreneurship and Real Estate was recognized as the best subject of business infrastructure.

The Top Comfort joint venture (Grodno oblast) was named the best company with foreign investment. The Fidmash joint venture (Minsk) was recognized the best exporter. The EPAM Systems foreign private company from Minsk was the best company in terms of providing new jobs.

Belgazprombank and VTB Bank were named laureates in the nomination Best Bank Providing Services to Entrepreneurs.

Belarus, Hungary should switch to more sophisticated cooperation forms

Belarus and Hungary should switch from simple forms of cooperation (trade in goods) to the implementation of joint projects, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov said as he met with Janos Veres, Hungary's Government Commissioner Responsible for Eastern Economic Relations, co-chair of the Belarusian-Hungarian intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation.

The promising cooperation areas include machine building, agriculture and woodworking, Andrei Kobyakov said.

The Vice-Premier assured Hungarian businessmen that Belarus will carefully study all the proposals voiced during the first session of the Belarusian-Hungarian commission for economic cooperation.

"The Belarusian side is interested in the implementation of joint projects with Hungarian enterprises, for example, between Alfa Busz and MAZ. We believe that the joint product will be popular among foreign consumers," Andrei Kobyakov said. He underlined that Belarus views the cooperation with the Dimarson company very important, too. The company is interested in arranging supplies of Horizont LCD TV sets and microwaves to Hungary and Romania.

There is significant cooperation potential in the tourism area, too.

According to Andrei Kobyakov, the Belarusian-Hungarian agreement on the mutual investment protection is essential for the successful implementation of joint projects. He also suggested enhancing the role of the regional contacts in promoting the bilateral cooperation.

Belarus and Hungary will soon sign an agreement on the mutual protection of investments, Hungary's Government Commissioner Responsible for Eastern Economic Relations Janos Veres said.

"It is necessary to work out the text of the investment agreement and sign it as soon as possible. I think we will approve the text by the end of September and will sign it after that," said Janos Veres.

The agreement will contribute to future development of cooperation between Belarus and Hungary in implementing joint investment projects.

At present the Belarusian automobile company MAZ and the Hungarian company Alfa Busz are in negotiations on setting up an enterprise in Hungary to assemble Belarusian buses. Janos Veres remarked that the two sides could also establish tight cooperation for assembling heavy machinery.

The Hungarian official believes that it would be promising to establish contacts in agriculture. Cooperation may be established between Belarus and the Hungarian society for the insurance of export loans. Hungary is interested in dynamically developing pragmatic contacts with Belarus. "Working in conditions of the global financial crisis, we have to do our best to prepare the ground for future expansion of the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries," he said.

The first session of the Belarusian-Hungarian Commission for Economic Cooperation took place on 10 September 2009. The sides discussed the development of the legal base of the bilateral cooperation, implementation of joint projects in the area of manufacturing cooperation, expansion of interregional cooperation. Three working groups have been set up to advance cooperation in industry, standardization, and small business, agriculture, science and technology.

The Hungarian side has acknowledged Belarus' view regarding cooperation between Belarus and the European Union (the Generalized System of Preferences, textile trade), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (enhancement of the credit rating) as well as amendments to the Kyoto Protocol.

In January-July 2009, the trade between Belarus and Hungary made up 0.2 million or 49.1% as against the same period 2008.

In the period under review, the Belarusian export to Hungary made up .6 million or 31.8% as against the same period 2008. The import downed by 30% to make up .6 million. The bilateral trade deficit made up million.

In 2008, the trade between Belarus and Hungary made up 8.3 million, up .3 million or almost 29%. The Belarusian export to Hungary was estimated at 4.2 million, up 24.7%, the import 4.1 million, up 33.5%. Belarus posted the trade surplus at ,000. In 2008, the Belarusian export to Hungary made up .3 million (without oil products) 0r up 38.7%.

Belarus' major exports to Hungary include oil products, tractors, acrilonitrile, hot-rolled rod and plain-steel wire, potash fertilizers, millwork, and acyclic hydrocarbons. The bulk of imports from Hungary is accounted for prescription drugs, farm machines, monochloroethylene and ethylene polymers, communication equipment and spare parts to it, TV sets, TV monitors, and video projectors.

Among the basic reasons of a decrease in the trade between the two countries is the crisis state of the Hungarian economy, unfavorable pricing environment (acrilonitrile, plywood, salt), market overstocking (potash fertilisers, metal products, woodworking materials), deterioration of the competitivity of the Belarusian goods regarding the prices, other problems.

In 2008, the Hungarian investments in the Belarusian economy made up {CONTENT}.3 million. In January-March 2009, Hungary did not invest in the Belarusian economy.

There are seven joint Belarusian-Hungarian companies in Belarus including an enterprise with 100% Hungarian capital.

The Belarusian national unitary company of export-import insurance Beleximguarant and the export credit insurance company MEHIB (Hungary) signed the cooperation agreement in November 2008. The two companies demonstrate successful cooperation.

Hungarian company Dimarson shows an interest in supplies of LCD TV sets and microwaves produced by the Horizont Company (Minsk) to Hungary and Romania. At present, Dimarson supplies Atlant-produced refrigerators and washing machines to Hungary and Romania using its own trademark.

At present, MAZ and Hungarian Alfa Bus are discussing the setting up of an assembly production of Belarusian buses MAZ-203 and MAZ-206 in Hungary.



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