Western companies usually over invest in Russia and underestimate the opportunities in Belarus. The growing economy offers improving opportunities in various industries in local production, imports and exports . Among Finnish publicly listed companies, Olvi plc reports its constant growth and profitability in the country.
MINSK IS CLOSER TO HELSINKI THAN MOSCOW
Minsk is closer to Helsinki than Moscow; Freight by truck from the industrial city of Vitebsk on the Russian border takes 11 hours to Finnish border city Hamina and costs half of Moscow’s freight.
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE INCREASING THEIR INVESTMENT
International financial institutions have increased three fold their investments in Belarus since 2014, when funding previously directed to Russia shifted westwards. The country's road network and other basic infrastructure have been upgraded with billions of euros. Several Industry Parks were built in all regional centers. These parks offer to western investors most attractive tax and other subsidies.
The most famous industry park is Great Stone, located close to Minsk Airport and 30 minutes from city. managEast can help the western investors in all labour related questions like recruitment and all operative questions like logistics and customs clearance. Already a dozen western companies have established their operation there.
Subcontracting in Belarus
Belarus offers to Western companies an incredibly competitive alternative to China in assembling or subcontracting. The country has had a historically high perception of quality and know-how in industrial production.
With the help of the above-mentioned loans from the international financiers like EBRD or EIB, the country's production capacity has been vigorously modernized in recent years. However, the cost level of labor is still 25% of the average in Western countries: and often only 50% of the cost of raw materials and energy. For example, the cost level is at least 30% cheaper than in Estonia.
Although Belarus does not have a large stock of raw materials, the country can buy all raw materials from Russia and other Eurasian Economic Union countries duty-free. Economic Union provides for a cheap procurement from Russia: often at a price lower than the Russian domestic level.
SERVICES IN BELARUS
We work closely with the Belarus Embassy in Finland to develop trade between Western countries and Belarus. Our connections mainly originate from ministerial level and between companies.
Our partners in Belarus have numerous EBRD projects in various industries. Through these and other ministerial-level contacts, we help Western companies find the best partners in subcontracting or set up their own production in the country.
There are interesting industries in manufacturing or subcontracting
- metal industry: all kinds of subcontracting, welding
- chemical industry, potassium, fertilizers
- components for the furniture industry
- plastics and polymers industry (raw materials from Russia duty free)
- building materials or industry components
- agricultural products: raw materials and finished products
- textile industry, processing of both industrial and consumer textiles, sewing - cotton, linen and all polymeric materials such as foam.
The collapse of the oil price and the covid-19 depreciated the Russian ruble. Belarus currency closely follows the Russian ruble and it experienced a 20% devaluation as well. On top of that, the demand in Russia has almost collapsed, causing a broad impact on various production chains in Belarus. As a result, domestic demand in the country has also fallen sharply. There is now a unique opportunity to launch operations in a country where all industrial activity is ongoing despite the situation.
Exports to Belarus
In respect to exports to Belarus, we are able to analyze the competitiveness, demand and potential customer segments for your products. We do that in a 3 to 4-day market study. After the study, we can arrange customer meetings across the country and participate in the trip to support the launch of the project.