Belarus

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MARKET ACCESS

 

Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands


Import regulations and customs duties

Regulations
In 1995, the total number of retail traders was 22,392 with a 2,478,240 m² sale surface and the number of kiosks was 6,619. More than 200,000 persons work in the retail sale and public procurement sector. The public sector holds 25% share in the retail trade system and 36% in the procurement network. As for co-operatives, they also have certain achievements to their credit : 10.4% share belongs to physical persons working together, 1.2% share belongs to private persons and 0.6% share goes to foreigners from mixed group.
In 1995, 56 wholesalers were dealing with consumer goods trade and had their own network of storing warehouses. They include 50 basic wholesalers and 7 cold rooms. The country has in the same year 2,032 warehouses of which 831 for food products.
The transition programme towards market economy includes a privatisation plan for State-owned companies. A the beginning of the year 1996, 424 retailers and 115 procurement companies were privatised. 33 of them were transformed into mixed economies, 154 were put in leasing, 25 were taken up by the staff whereas another 25 were bought by private buyers. The distribution network is, therefore, open to foreign investors and is one of the priorities of the Government.

 


Customs duties
Import taxes rates are also variable and depend on the products, the range of variation being 1% to 100%. On the other hand, exemptions are applied to food products and products imported from Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan.

Excise duties rate of levy varies between 4% and 55% depending on the type of product. Products exported from Byelorussia are exempt from this type of duty. Moreover, excise duty stamps have been made compulsory in this country : between 0.3 USD and 3.8 USD for alcohol and tobacco.

 

 






Distribution

The major part of the distribution and sale is effected even today through the State. This is all the same a big reform because not only domestic products (basic products which are sometimes in shortage some days such as bread, butter, milk products etc) but also foreign products can be found in food stores. The foreign products distributed are food products and miscellaneous products which are relatively more elaborated than the local products. These products only appeared on the market 2 years ago in Minsk. They are positioned top of the range and are indeed sold at high prices. Besides, they are advertised for sale in USD, but the products are bought in Byelorussian roubles the price of which is three times higher than in France or in Poland.


 


Transportation of goods

By road
The road transport network extends over 51,547 km. More than two thirds of the goods transported take the road way. Advice : one should rather use the services of a road transporter in this country.


By rail
The railway transport network extends to 5,488 km : one should pay attention to the standards of this country. Some railway lines have Soviet Russian standards, whereas others follow international ones. This sometimes implies that the goods coming from the west have to be unloaded and reloaded.
Less than one quarter of the goods are transported by railway.


By sea
Finally, canals and rivers are huge and deep. The principal port is Mazyr.




Standards

The goods must bear the manufacturer's trademark as well as registration of the brand.
The Byelorussian consumer has the right to protect his own interest through the State. He has the right to get a reasonable quality and goods which satisfy the safety norms. He also has the right to be informed about the products and to receive the compensation in the case of damages.
In case of violation, Belarussians can appeal to the country's court of justice.



Patents and brands

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Byelorussia accepted to become a member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). Belarus is also a member of the Paris Convention, Madrid Arrangement, and also PCT (Patent Co-operation treaty). But there are still forgeries and piracy, and copies of CDs and video tapes are found in this country in spite of the existence of laws. The US-Byelorussian agreement contains a certain clause pertaining to the protection of intellectual property.
At the beginning of the year 1996, the European Patent Convention came into force. The members of this convention dealing with patents are as follows : Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldavia, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. This convention covers inventions and industrial drawings and designs. Inventions are covered for a period of 20 years after registration and industrial drawings and designs for a period of 10 years.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patent Law No. 160-Z on Patents for Inventions, Utility Models and Industrial Designs December 16, 2002 (latest edition from October 29, 2004) 20 years, renewable for a period not exceeding five years :
Trademark and Service Mark Law on Trademarks and Service Marks February 5, 1993 (latest edition from October 29, 2004) 10 years, renewable for further 10-year periods :
Design Law No. 160-Z on Patents for Inventions, Utility Models and Industrial Designs December 16, 2002 (latest edition from October 29, 2004) 10 years, renewable for a period not exceeding five years :



 

Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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