The World Bank study «Doing Business» is a series of annual reports analyzing conditions for the establishment and functioning of small and medium enterprises, including the analysis of entrepreneurial activity regulation as factors that influence business climate in a specified country/region.
The aim of study is to assess main steps of the «life cycle» of economic entities, including the legal conditions for establishment of a new business, obtaining construction permits, registering property, getting credits, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcement of contracts, getting electricity and resolving insolvency.
According to the report «Doing Business 2013», published in October 2012, Belarus moved to 58th place among 185 countries. Also, Belarus came in third in the list of 10 most active business reformers.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republicof the Republic of Belarus jointly with governmental bodies and companies performs a systemic work on the improvement of the position of the Republic of Belarus in the subranking «Trade Across Borders».
The purpose of this work is to identify and address factors affecting such indicators as time and cost expenditures when performing foreign trade operations; reduce the number of documents to be submitted by participants of foreign economic activities and the time necessary to prepare and submit these documents; and reduce the cost of export/import operations.
According to the report «Doing Business 2013» Belarus improved its standing in the in the subranking «Trade Across Borders» by 3 points.
During 2010-2012 the following measures were undertaken:
• promotion of electronic document flow in foreign trade. Automatic system of electronic declaration of imports/exports of goods to/from the territory of the Republic of Belarus was introduced. As of January, 2012, 95 per cent of goods were exported and 40 per cent of goods imported with submission of electronic imports/exports declarations. The introduction of the system in question has reduced the time necessary for customs clearance of goods from 4-6 hours to 10-15 minutes. Furthermore, customs authorities of the Republic of Belarus have established a Common Information Resource, which keeps records on licenses (permits) issued by governmental bodies and other agencies for the purposes of customs declaration of goods. The application of the CIR is aimed at practical implementation of the «one-stop-shop» approach and helps to reduce the time for review and consideration of licenses (permits) by 1-2 hours.
75% of the letters sent to and from the customs authorities are authenticated with the help of digital signatures.
Presidential edict of 23 July 2012 No. 323 and Resolution of the Council of Ministers of 20 August 2012 No. 768 provide for the introduction of automated registration of statistical and periodic statistical declarations, which has been put into practice since 26 September 2012.
The State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus passed resolution of 26 January 2012 No. 2, which was enacted on 1 March 2012, increasing to 100% the volume of statistical declarations registered electronically;
• introduction of the System of Prior-Notification of Movement of Goods across the border of the Republic of Belarus. The system allows to streamline customs clearance procedures before the actual movement of goods across the border. The application of the system reduces time for customs clearance procedures by 50-60 per cent and the cost of the corresponding procedures by 20-25 per cent. More than 30 per cent of goods imported into the territory of the Republic of Belarus were declared by using the System of Prior-Notification.
Decision of the Customs Union Commission No. 899 effective as of 17 June 2012 introduced obligatory prior-notification of movement of goods entering the customs territory of the Customs Union;
• development of Risk Analysis and Management System. Customs authorities of the Republic of Belarus have developed a concept of the Risk Analysis and Management System for the period from 2010 to 2015, and in the run up to 2020. It helps to create partnership relations between customs authorities and economic operators. As a result, the performance of customs inspections is based on the availability of information on possible violations of export/import procedures, the appropriate risk profile and risk indicators. In practice, this reduces the number of customs inspections by more than 5 times and simplifies customs procedures covering the movement of goods across the border;
• reduction of costs of export/import operations. In accordance with the Presidential Edict No. 319 of 18 July 2011, economic operators enjoyed abolishment of customs fees and charges for implementation of measures of protection of intellectual property rights (equal to 320 Euros). Furthermore, with the aim to simplify conditions of performance of export/import operations, the President of the Republic of Belarus signed Edict No. 347 of 9 August 2011. The Edict revoked registration of foreign trade transactions under contracts which do not require a compensatory transfer of goods. In addition, the Edict eliminated the obligation of foreign trade operators to register annexes to foreign trade contracts if they appear as separate documents. I.e. registration of foreign trade transactions is carried out on the basis of foreign trade contract as a whole. The Edict also extends the capabilities of economic operators to complete export transactions.
Presidential Edict No. 329 of 23 July 2012 cut the number of applicable rates for customs clearance from 3 to 2, while adjusting the rate for certain product items and bringing down the charge for issuing a preliminary customs classification decision by 35 Euros;
• improvement of the Common Settlement and Information Space System. With the aim to broaden up the opportunities of economic operators on payment of customs duties and charges by using up-to-date facilities, the Government of the Republic of Belarus has completed work on connection of customs authorities to the Common Settlement and Information System. Currently customs duties can be paid in certain banks in Belarus. Economic operators were enabled to settle customs duties in the following ways:
— in cash via terminals;
— by a plastic card in ATMs, inquiry & payment terminals;
— via Internet and wireless communication facilities;
— with electronic money.
The introduction of the abovementioned measure has reduced the time necessary for payment of customs duties and charges by 5-8 hours;
• reduction of list of goods (works, services) subject to conformity assessment requirements. During the period from 2008 to 2010, the list was reduced by about 40 per cent. Furthermore, on 31 December 2010 the Law of Belarus No. 228-Z «On Amending Certain Laws of the Republic of Belarus on Issues Related to Conformity Assessment with Technical Regulations in the Field of Technical Regulation and Standardization» was adopted. The document provides for simplification of conformity assessment procedures and is aimed at the reduction of the list of goods (works, services) subject to conformity assessment requirements. Simplification of conformity assessment procedures reduces the cost of corresponding procedures by 80 per cent. In addition, the time required for conduction of procedures on conformity declaration is limited to 2 days.
On 7 July 2011 the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus has adopted Resolution No. 925 “On the Recognition of Protocols of Technical Testing of Products by the European Authorized Agencies and Mandatory Confirmation of Conformity in the Republic of Belarus”. The Resolution approves the procedure of conducting mandatory certification or registration of a declaration of conformity by the national certification bodies with regard to certain products (i.e. personal protective equipment, building materials, lighting products, small boats, manufactured in the EU) without testing these products in accredited national testing laboratories while preserving the obligation to submit relevant documents on performance of testing operations in the EU.
Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus No. 450 of 16 May 2012 expanded the list of such products, adding power cables and wires, commutative equipment, cellular communications equipment to the list.
On 14 July 2011, the State Standardization Committee of the Republic of Belarus adopted Resolution No. 60, which entered into force on 11 December, 2011. The Resolution introduced the declaration of conformity (instead of the obligation on mandatory certification) of certain products, i.e. electrical appliances, accessories for motor vehicles, light industry goods, means of fire safety, as well as clocks, telecommunications facilities, boats, furniture, matches, cosmetics, vegetables, canned fruits and berries, sauces, ketchup, canned condiments, mayonnaise, soybean oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil.
Introduction of the aforementioned measures has cut the costs on undergoing conformity assessment by 80%;
• improvement of informational support of foreign trade. Data on foreign trade in goods (on the level of 6th sign of goods nomenclature) is regularly updated on the official web site of the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus;
• reduction of cost of goods transportation. In order to reduce the expenditures of economic operators on goods transportation the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Belarus passed the Resolutions No. 56 of 02.08.2010 and No. 41 of 27.06.2011 which have improved procedures of application of cost rates for technical maintenance and repair of automotive transport as well as application of fuel consumption norms for mechanical vehicles.
Law No. 330-Ç of 30 December 2011 “On Introduction of Amendments to the Tax Code of the Republic of Belarus” cut the rate of the state duty, levied upon transit of the goods on the territory of the neighbouring countries;
• simplification of procedural requirements for export/import. Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus No. 126 of 7 February 2012 has simplified the collection of taxes on currency differences arising from revaluation of a profit organisation’s property and liabilities in foreign currency as well as revoked taxation of currency differences arising from revaluation of cash assets, contributed by the founders to the authorised fund of the organisation.
On 30 April 2012 the resolution of the Head of the Customs Committee of of the Republic Belarus No. 173-ÎÄ was adopted. It allowed for usage of transport and/or commercial documents instead of a transit declaration when goods are transported by motor transport.
On February 20, 2012 the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Belarus adopted resolution No. 11, excluding international consignment note CMR from the list of strict-accountability forms.
The requirement to submit a decision on the customs classification of certain goods in accordance with goods nomenclature to the customs authorities on an obligatory basis was abolished by Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus No. 347, adopted on 13 April 2012.
See more on «Doing Business», and on measures performed by the Government to improve the position of the Republic of Belarus.