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China-Belarus industrial park makes breakthrough in attracting investors

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-10-12 11:01

MINSK — The China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone has been attracting investors, and the number of resident companies has more than doubled, said the head of the park's administration.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 10 companies from China, Belarus, Russia, Austria, the United States and Lithuania have become new residents of the industrial park, Alexander Yaroshenko said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"We set ourselves a goal for this year. At least 20 resident companies have come to us, ten of them have begun to actively build their facilities and at least five of them have started carrying out their work. The park is entering an active phase of development," he said.

The industrial park, also known as the Great Stone, is being built near the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The two countries have agreed to connect the park to China's Belt and Road Initiative, which runs through Asia and Europe.

In May, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko issued a decree to expand the benefits for resident companies of the park in a bid to attract more enterprises from around the world, including those from China.

According to the decree, resident companies will be exempted from a profit tax for 10 years after the first fiscal period during which they would start generating profits by selling goods or services.

Resident companies and the joint managing company will also be exempted from the land tax until June 14, 2062.

"The decree created unprecedented favorable conditions for investors to enter the industrial park. The park provides investors with almost complete exemption from taxes", Yaroshenko said.

According to Yaroshenko, under the new presidential decree, the investment threshold has been reduced from $5 million to 500,000, offering opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Already now we can say that due to the lowering of the investment threshold and unprecedented business conditions in the park, guaranteed by the new decree, the interests of investors has began to grow," he said.

Currently, China-Belarus Industrial Park Development Company is negotiating with many enterprises. By the end of the year the number of residents is expected to increase to 25 at most, according to the park's administration.

"Despite a significant leap in the development of the park, we would like this process to move more dynamically, so that more high-tech enterprises would come and produce competitive products," Yaroshenko said.

Yaroshenko has seen good prospects for the development of the industrial park. The park will create new jobs and attract high-tech talent and is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs by 2020, he said.

He believes that the park will become a real city in the future. "We expect to have about 10,000 people working and living in industrial park by 2020, and more than 130,000 people by 2030," he added.

"Realization of our goal will make Great Stone a new face of the Belarusian economy and become a growth point," he said.

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