Belarus formalizes free movement of currency assets in Customs Union
MINSK, 23 July (BelTA) - Belarus has formalized the free movement of currency assets in the Customs Union. This is provided for in the law on amendments and additions to the law on currency regulation and currency control, which was signed by the head of state and officially published on the national legal Internet portal on 23 July, BelTA learned.
The main novel concept of the law pertains to the import/export of currency by individual to Belarus from the other Customs Union countries. The amendments provide that any movement of currency assets in the Troika is free. "Import/export into/from the Republic of Belarus of currency assets by individuals is done without restrictions, subject to the requirements of the customs legislation of the Customs Union and legislation of the Republic of Belarus on customs regulation," the document reads. The law emphasizes the rule of the priority of international treaties to which Belarus has acceded. It clarifies the functions of government agencies that deal with monetary control, in particular the National Bank and the State Customs Committee. The document gives the Council of Ministers the authority to set the rules governing the transfer of currency assets. It has abolished the function of the National Bank to set the rules, together with the authorized government bodies, governing the import/export and transfer of foreign currency, Belarusian rubles, and other currency assets abroad. According to experts, the law can be considered a step towards the approximation of the legislations of the Customs Union member states. The next step would be the introduction of the unified currency regulations for legal entities.
The head of state also signed the law on amendments and additions to the law on free economic zones. The document shall enter into force 10 days after its official publication, which happened on 23 July. The law allows unifying some of the issues regarding the registration of resident companies in the FEZ in Belarus, their activities in the territory of the FEZ and the legal regulation of these activities in accordance with the rules of the Customs Union. In addition, the head of state signed the laws on auditing, on investments and on mediation, the law on amending some laws of Belarus on mortgage. These documents were also officially published on the national legal Internet portal on 23 July.
The law on investments establishes the legal framework and sets out the basic principles for investments in Belarus, establishes additional rights of investors. The law aims for equal, non-discriminatory activities for all investors in Belarus, both national and foreign ones. In particular, it abolishes the requirement for minimum authorized fund of the organizations established by a foreign investor. Previously it was restricted to the amount of $20,000. The activities of foreign investors will be limited only in cases where this is necessary in the interests of national security, public health, the rights and freedoms of others, protection of the environment, historic and cultural values, and only on the basis of a legislative act. In pursuance of Decree No. 10 on additional conditions for investment activity in Belarus, the law includes the provisions providing that, in order to create additional conditions for investment, investors have the right to conclude investment agreements with the Republic of Belarus.
The law on mediation aims at setting the legal and organizational framework of mediation, creating favorable conditions for its development. The document contains the principles of mediation, requirements to mediators and their qualifications. Mediation is a voluntary out-of-court settlement of economic and civil disputes. A mediator is an intermediary between the parties – a specialist who simultaneously acts as a lawyer and a psychologist. His/her task is to make sure the parties hear each other, and come to a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation is now applied in civil disputes. Such services are provided by trained lawyers. As expected, the availability of mediation services will allow citizens and economic entities to choose the means of dispute settlement and at the same time will reduce the load on public justice.