Belarus` government needs political will to attract investment, German ambassador says 14:49, 01/12/2005
To attract investment in Belarus the government must declare its political will and take practical steps, Martin Hecker, the German ambassador in Minsk, said on November 30 opening a conference on the harmonization of national investment legislation with European standards.
The ambassador stressed that he was dissatisfied with the level of economic relations between Belarus and Germany. Belarus ranks 67th in imports and 57th in exports to Germany.
Mr. Hecker stressed that Belarus should apply investment laws the same way as other countries, otherwise it will be difficult to attract potential investors. "Belarus is involved in the global competition for investment. Investors are cautious, they compare conditions and go to other countries."
The diplomat noted that his mission works closely with German companies in Belarus to promote investment. "They need to have a clear impression that the Belarusian government is interested in attracting investment," he said.
Among the factors that scare off potential investors, Dr. Hecker cited the "golden share" rule, heavy penalties applied by customs services, complicated customs clearance procedures and red tape. Belarus` good side is that it has a high human potential, a good geographical position and wonderful roads, the diplomat added.
The conference, organized by the embassy and the German International Legal Cooperation Foundation, was attended by officials, representatives of organizations promoting economic ties, German and Belarusian lawyers and German business executives./ BelaPAN