“The China-Belarus industrial park is striving to become the key component of the Silk Road Economic Belt project” stated the deputy CEO, Zhang Minghui, of the Industrial Park Development Company, during a press conference.
Engine for the whole economy
The transport-logistics company China Merchants Group, is the main investor of the Park, and has chosen the China-Belarus industrial park as its key component. According to the Head of administration of the Great Stone Industrial Park, Andrei Gal, the company has all the necessary resources for the implementation of such an important project. They plan to use all modes of transportation such as aviation, automobiles, railroad and they also have direct access to the port of Klaipeda.
The Park is meant to become a key point in Europe and parts of the EAEU. “Building of the infrastructure for the Silk Road will push the development not only of the Park, but of the economy of the country on the whole. The minimum investments in the Park will amount to 1.5 billion dollars” said Andrei Gal.
Zhang Minghui told the journalists that the main development zone occupies 8.5 sq. km. It is divided into three parts and these are industrial; in terms of logistics it has to be adjacent to the national airport of Minsk, commercial and residential.
In the industrial zone five main areas will be developed and these are electronics, fine chemistry, biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals, new materials and commercial logistics. “High-tech production will be situated in the industrial zone, which will be able to fill in the blanks in the Belarusian industry. Today eight companies are officially registered in the Park. There are also fourteen applications that are currently pending to be registered as residents of the Park, thirteen of which are from Chinese companies and one from the Belarusian Company” said Zhang Minghui.
China Merchants Group has already begun the construction of the logistical subpark, which will occupy 1 sq. km. Its main function will be the delivery of raw materials for the Park residents, export and transportation of the ready goods. The company has invested 500 million dollars into the project. The administration of Great Stone Industrial Park is certain that China Merchants Group’s participation in the project will attract a large number of residents to the Park. As it stands, China Merchants Group is negotiating the acquirement of one of piers at the port of Klaipeda.
The second project is the plant for the production of malt. The Chinese company Juxin will produce the brewery malt in the Park and then export it to China. The amount of its investments is 120 million dollars. In the near future, companies such as Huawei, Zoomlion and ZTE plan to commence their work in the Park.
At the moment there is only one Belarusian resident in the China-Belarus Industrial Park – a company called Nanopectin. It is going to produce pectin from apples for the Belarusian medical industry as well as for export to China. Pectin is the component of the coating of oral drugs; this product is traded in the stock exchange. Industrial Park Development Company hopes that in the future Belarusian companies in the Park will develop areas such as microelectronics, fine chemistry and pharmaceuticals.
The Industrial Park Development Company strives to undertake tasks connected with the design and building of the infrastructure facilities of the industrial park. By the end of the year all the necessary networks and communications will be laid along its main streets. The construction of housing for the Park workers will begin next year.
An 8 km long asphalt road with six lanes is being built, under which all the communications are being laid; wastewater treatment plants, artesian wells, pumping and waterworks stations are being constructed. The substation is being built with a loan from China’s Eximbank, which has allocated 170 million dollars at 3% interest per annum with a deferment of payment for six years. It is estimated that circa 100 thousand people will live and work in the Park.
However, workplaces are not the most important component of the Park. The plan is to create high-tech companies within the park and these do not require a large number of workers. The residents of the Great Stone Industrial Park are to provide not only the growth of the economic potential of Belarus, but also enable it to reach its full scientific and technical potential.
The benefits offered to the Park residents by the Government of the Republic of Belarus are unprecedented. The projects investing over 5 million dollars into the areas of electronics, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, fine chemistry, mechanical engineering, new materials and logistics, and over 1 million dollars into the R & D, are exempt from income and property taxes for 10 years from the date of registration as Park residents, as well as from VAT on equipment (components and spare parts) imported to Belarus for use in investment projects for the Park. Rate of personal income tax is fixed at only 9%. Park residents, as well as foreign employees are exempt from compulsory insurance contributions from their wages. In addition, mandatory insurance contributions are not charged from the income of Park resident employees with Belarusian citizenship to a part of income in case such a part exceeds one-time amount of the average wage in the country.
Income tax will not be paid for five years from the date of the announcement of the income. The Park residents will be exempt from compensation for the harmful impact on flora and fauna, from compulsory sale of the receipts in foreign currency in the domestic foreign exchange market of the Republic of Belarus, and this exemption also applies to the contractors. The Park residents are not obliged to certify building materials or to pay a state duty for issuing special permits for labour activity of foreign citizens on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
By Tatyana Kalinovskaya