German investors would supply the first wind farm in Belarus

On September 15 Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky met with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Belarus Christof Weil.

Sergei Sidorsky reminded that in 2009 Belarus-Germany trade totaled $3.2 billion. He underlined that equipment used for economy modernization makes up the bulk of Belarusian import from Germany. German investments are used in various branches of the Belarusian economy. “We will add power engineering, primarily renewable energy sources, to basic industries. Now we will do our utmost so that German investors would supply the first wind energy plant in Belarus,” said Sergei Sidorsky.

The Prime Minister added that Belarus is interested in joint projects in other promising industries such as pharmaceuticals, electronics and IT.

In the last few years Belarus’ export to Germany soared by 40% (except for oil products). “Once again it confirms that our trade and economic relations are advancing. This is why our interest in the presence of German investments has compelled us to hold the Belarus Investment Forum in Frankfurt am Main this year. We hope to invite a large number of participants and hope to exceed the 2008 Belarus Investment Forum in London in the number of breakthrough ideas and projects,” said Sergei Sidorsky.

He said he hopes that at the forum German investors will see new prospects of investing in the Belarusian economy.

According to Sergei Sidorsky, German business may be interested in the Belarusian economy in view of the creation of the Customs Union. The Customs Union opens up new opportunities to step up sales of high-tech products.

The Prime Minister also stressed that regional cooperation with Germany is important for Belarus. Belarus has concrete areas of developing trade and economic relations with regions of Germany. They are primarily connected with priority areas of development of the two economies.

Sergei Sidorsky said he hopes that Christof Weil’s mission in Belarus will be successful and that Belarus-Germany relations will grow stronger, that the two countries will set an example of enhancing relations and cooperating like good neighbors.

“We highly appreciate that Germany supported Belarus in last year’s political and economic conditions. We highly appreciate that Germany has become the country to support Belarus’ participation in the Eastern Partnership Initiative,” stressed the Prime Minister of Belarus.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Belarus Christof Weil added that he had talked to German economists prior to his arrival in Minsk and saw that “the Belarusian market is of interest to German businessmen.”

The Ambassador attributed the slowdown in the flow of German investments to the obscure framework conditions in Belarus. Therefore, the Belarus Investment Forum in Frankfurt am Main will offer a good opportunity to explain the legal and tax system of Belarus to German investors.

“I think it is a good opportunity to present Belarus’ potential to German investors,” Christof Weil said.

In 2009 German investments in the Belarusian economy amounted to $59.7 million (51.1% as against 2008), with FDI at $51.6 million (55.1% as against 2008).

In Belarus there are 345 companies with a share of German capital, including 189 joint ventures and 156 foreign-owned companies. Since their registration $118.5 million has been poured into their authorized funds.

In Belarus there are 97 representative offices of German companies. The largest are BASF AG, Lufthansa, Bayer AG, Siemens AG, Autoran, the Representation of the German Economy, and Fresenius.

In Germany there are seven representations of Belarusian companies, namely Belimpex Handels GmbH in Leipzig (Minsk Tractor Works), Belastahl Au?enhandel GmbH in Berlin (Belarusian Steel Works), Belmagistralavtotrans Speditions GmbH in Alzey (Belmagistralavtotrans), the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Leipzig, the national air carrier Belavia, Belneftekhim concern, Belarusbank in Frankfurt am Main.

Credit and investment cooperation plays a major part in Belarusian-German relations. Since 1992 Belarusian companies have attracted over €560 million in German loans against guarantees of the Belarusian government.

In 1992 the Belarusian-German Economic Cooperation Council was set up with a view to coordinating and developing economic ties between the two countries. The first session of the Belarusian-German working group for scientific and technical cooperation took place in Minsk on 19 March 1996. The first Belarusian-German energy forum took place in Minsk in May 2008. The Belarusian-German economic forum Belarus Day was held on 23 April 2009 as part of the Hanover Fair.

Cooperation with several federal states of Germany is advancing, primarily cooperation with North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Lower Saxony.

The legal base of the Belarusian-German cooperation includes over 20 international treaties and documents in various areas. A package of basic economic agreements has been formed. Those are agreements on cooperation in economy, industry, science, and technology, on promotion and mutual protection of investments, on avoiding double taxation of income and property. Agreements on aircraft traffic, motorway traffic, cooperation between the defense ministries and between the customs services of the two countries have been signed.