Buying and Selling

flag Belarus Belarus: Buying and Selling

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | E-commerce | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier

 

Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
International Economic Cooperation
Belarus is member of:
- The Eurasian Economic Union
- The Eurasian Economic Community
- The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) 
Belarus also signed in 2009 a Free Trade Agreement with Serbia.
Non Tariff Barriers
There are various administrative barriers to market access. According to a report by the Eurasian Development Bank, non-tariff barriers on exports to Belarus are around 25% of the value of exports for Russian exporters and 29% for Kazakh exporters.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
The customs duties in Belarus are those that apply to the Eurasian Economic Union. The proceeds of the custom duties are distributed amongst the members of the Union.

The average Eurasian Economic Union common tarriff in 2020 is expected to be 7.9%, taking into consideration Russia' s commitments to the WTO.

The Union and the impact of Russia's commitments to the WTO means that tariffs have decreased in Belarus.



Customs Classification
Since 1st January, 2010, when the Customs Union of the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation was launched, customs and tariff regulation in Belarus is carried out in accordance with the rules of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Area and is based on the unification of international treaties to which the three countries are parties.
The elements of the customs and tariff regulations include the following:
- customs tariffs
- customs declaration of goods, transported across the customs border
- customs procedures
- the unified nomenclature of the international economic activity.
The Eurasian Economic Commission is responsible for the development and application of the unified measures of customs and tariff regulations, which form the legal framework and are directly applicable in the territories of the three countries.

For further information, please visit the website of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

Import Procedures
Belarus is part of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and signed the EAEU Customs Code, which came into effect on 1 January 2018. The following changes have now taken effect:

  • Electronic Customs declarations; a customs declaration in paper form is still accepted but only in exceptional cases
  • Customs declarations can be submitted without physical documents and accompanying papers; these will eventually only be required and checked within the course of the risk controlling system
  • Stronger networking with other public electronic databases. Previously registered certificates can be retrieved directly from the existing databases during customs clearance.
  • Simplification and optimisation of the customs declarations content
  • One-stop-shop principle for economic operators
  • Shorter clearance periods for customs procedures
  • The new Customs Code refers less to the national legislation and regulations of member states than before.

For more information, please visit the website of State Customs Authorities of Belarus.

Importing Samples
Samples are subject to the same procedures. For more information go to the Belarusian customs duty website.
 
 
For Further Information
Customs office of Belarus

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
The Belarusian economy has been struggling recently (particularly because of the negative influence of the Ukrainian economic and political situation), causing a decrease in consumers’ disposable incomes. As a consequence, consumers have altered their spending habits, constantly looking for promotions and in many cases delaying purchases, particularly of durable goods. New taxes on products bought abroad have affected the popular activity of cross-border shopping.
The wages vary significantly between the capital Minsk and the countryside. In urban areas, in particular, a well-off middle class is emerging. In addition, there is the emergence of a rather wealthy middle-class. The ageing population trend is expected to have a significant impact on consumption patterns.
Consumer Behaviour
In Belarus, numerous markets remain regulated by state intervention, which creates distortions and shortages.
The middle class has enough purchasing power to buy leisure goods is a minority, as, in 2021, the gross average wage is BYN 1,290 per month (National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus). People in the capital Minsk generally enjoy better salaries (around BYN 1,849 per month in 2021 - National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus), though the cost of living is also higher.
The majority of Belarusians are still struggling financially, spending long hours at work and consuming a high-fat and low-fibre traditional diet, which has led to a rise in chronic illnesses.
Online shopping is growing with domestic and Chinese retailers the most popular sites. Social media can influence consumer habits and attitudes.
Consumers Associations
Belarusian Association of Consumers Protection
Main Advertising Agencies
AKMA
Fistashki
AGT

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
According to the 2017 Boston Consulting Group Report for Belarus, the grocery retail market is expected to reach USD 14/15 billion in 2022. The market is to grow by 9% CAGR in nominal terms and 2% CAGR in real terms.
Supermarkets are the most popular format (39% of Modern Trade Sales), followed by Hypermarkets (34%) and Convenience Stores (25%). The convenience format is expected to drive market growth for the period 2018 – 2022. We can note that there are no discounters in Belarus.
Modern retail format penetration is significantly below European levels, and the private label share in grocery remains below 5%.
The top 5 players make up 62% of modern trade sales, which make the grocery retail market more consolidated than the Eastern European average. Eurotorg is the leader across all modern trade formats, and Gippo became the challenger, after the acquisition of Belmarket.
Market share

In 2020, the distribution market consisted of 63.7% non-food sales and 36.3% food sales (National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus).

According to the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus' latest data available, in 2019, the types of markets were as follows:

  • 10% were public-owned distribution chains
  • 65.2% were private nationwide distribution chains
  • 24.8% were foreign chains. Note that the chain store SPAR entered the market in 2017 after partnering with Almir, the second-largest chain store in Belarus.

As the Belarusian market develops, spearheaded by the growth of the Eurasian Economic Union, the share of foreign capital has increased slightly at the expense of the national capital. Local and Russian supermarket chains dominate the market in Belarus, and Russia remains the main trading partner and foreign investor in the country. According to the supermarket chain's presentation online, Eurotorg is the largest in the country with a 19% market share in total food retail and 36% in modern food retail in 2020.
Other major retailers include:

  • hypermarkets: Almi, Bigzz, Korona, Gippo
  • supermarkets: Almi, Belmarket, Belkoopsojuz, Rodnaja Sorona
  • discount: Bazaar, Euroopt, Zakrama (Almi group)
Retail Sector Organisations
Belarus Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus

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E-commerce

Internet access
According to UNCTAD, there are 6.72 million internet users in Belarus, making the penetration rate 71.1%. According to the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, there is a significant urban-rural divide when it comes to connectivity, though the gap is narrowing. While 72% of the urban population has access to the internet, only 52% of the rural population does so. Belarus has one of the least expensive broadband costs in the world, at an average of US$ 12.77 per month. Over the last few years, internet infrastructure has improved in the country, with faster speeds and more relaxed rules facilitating regarding public wi-fi access, meaning public venues are no longer required to obtain a license before offering wi-fi. However, the authorities have continued censoring some information online, with newly amended media laws granting them greater power to control content. The state-owned Beltelecom and the National Centre for Traffic Exchange are the only entities permitted to handle connections with ISPs outside of Belarus. Google and other digital companies which generate significant online traffic have preferential agreements with Beltelecom, which allow it to engage in predatory pricing. Over the last few years independent online media and social networks increased in importance as sources of news for Belarusians. Smartphones are becoming cheaper and more popular in Belarus. Google’s 2016 Connected Consumer Survey found that 59% of Belarusians use smartphones, a figure that reaches 89% when accounting for only those under 35. As of September 2018, the most popular search engines in the country by market share were Google (69.5%), YANDEX RU (26.62%), Mail.ru (2.97%), Bing (0.37%), Yahoo! (0.28%), and DuckDuckGo (0.13%). As for browsers, the most popular ones were Chrome (67.06%), Opera (11.57%), Firefox (6.35%), Safari (5.63%), Yandex Browser (4.58%), and Samsung Internet (1.1%).
E-commerce market
According to National Statistical Committee of Belarus (Belstat) just 1.14 million internet users shop online, which represents 14% of population and 24% of Internet users. Given that the government is still working on implementing e-commerce statistics tools in the country, a figure of the market's revenue can only be estimated. Still, some websites expect Belarus' e-commerce sales to reach US$1 billion by the end of 2019, a figure that is debated. With the economy dominated by the state and its illiberal trade laws, many Belarusians are increasingly turning to shopping online abroad, especially through Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Some of the top e-commerce sites in Belarus include kufar.by, second.by and shop.by. The popularity of online shopping, and lower prices offered by overseas vendors, is causing losses in sales within the country. To counter this, a new decree limiting tax-free online shopping abroad was signed in 2016. The most popular products purchased online among Belarusians are home appliances (52%), phones and gadgets (52%), computers (43%), clothes and shoes (38%) and tickets for concerts, planes and trains (36%). The least popular category of goods among the Belarusian e-shoppers is medicine and optics (6%), according to a research from Gemius. The most frequently used method of payment is cash on delivery (60%), followed by credit card (13%) and internet banking (8%).

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Roads and airports are poorly maintained in Belarus. The train is the best mean of transport for goods.
Ports
Mikashevichi
Mogilev
Mazyr
Airports
Minsk Airport
Sea Transport Organisations
Ministry of transport and communications of the Republic of Belarus
Air Transport Organisations
Ministry of transport and communications of the Republic of Belarus
Road Transport Organisations
Ministry of transport and communications of the Republic of Belarus
Rail Transport Organisations
Ministry of transport and communications of the Republic of Belarus

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
For the resources for businesses on managing the manufacturing and the supply chain risk due to the outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic, please consult the report COVID-19: Managing supply chain risk and disruption (Deloitte Canada, 2020), as well as the insights on COVID-19: How to fortify your supply chain (Kearney, 2020).
The World Economic Forum's COVID Action Platform provides useful information on the latest strategic trends regarding COVID-19 implications for businesses, including manufacturing and supply systems. The report Outbreak Readiness and Business Impact (World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Harvard Global Health Institute) offers insights on handling coronavirus by businesses and strategies for effective response and resilience.

According to an official website of Belarus, the main industries are metallurgy; mechanical engineering, including tractors and agricultural cars, machine-tool constructing and the tool industry, etc.; chemical and petrochemical production; the light industry; and the food industry.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
All.biz - Byelorussia - Directory of companies in Belarus
B2B.BY - Directory of businesses in Belarus
Belarus Guide - Business and industry in Belarus
Belarus-Export - Belarusian business directory
BelCCI - Register of Belarusian companies
BELpartner.by - Belarusian business directory
Dun & Bradstreet - Worldwide directory with financial information on businesses
Expat.com - Belarusian business directory
Export BY - Belarusian business directory
iDei.by - Belarusian business directory
Maxi.by - Belarusian business directory
 

To search directories by industry in Belarus, check out our service Business Directories.

 
Professional Associations by Sector
26 professional associations listed for Belarus.
 
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
General Professional Associations
Minsk capital association of entrepreneurs and employers
 
 

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Latest Update: July 2022