Export/Import Research Paper
Belarus is considered to be one of the most problematic countries to do business in; yet it does not prevent some foreign entrepreneurs from setting up business there. Import and export of Belarus are not huge though it exists. Republic of Belarus imports and exports goods, chemicals, machinery and equipment, different kinds of metals, etc. Russia is its biggest trade partner, and it accounts almost half of Belarusian turnover in foreign trade (“Belarus,” n.d.). The next largest trade partner of Belarus is the European Union. This work is an attempt to explore the economic and business resources of Belarus and decide if it presents a viable and productive import/export opportunity.
For the last years, Belarusian economy grew up considerably due to the country’s reserves and favorable external conditions. The main factors to growth were high investments in GDP and productivity; educated specialists and discipline also played a significant role in economy’s evolution. Moreover, rapid economic development of the country has been promoted by favorable external conditions, such as an easy access to the Russian market and low-cost expenses for import. Banking sector is growing fast, and its assets exceed GDP in 3-4 times. The majority of companies in Belarus are controlled by the state, although some employees work in private companies, and 2% of the population are hired by foreign enterprises.
In 2008, Belarus suffered form crisis as many other countries. The economic situation worsened because of the foreign currency inflow defects and reduction of foreign financing sources. The last crisis had such consequences as considerable inflation, multiple increases in interest rates at the monetary and credit market, slowing down of business activities, etc. In 2011, the country took significant steps to overcome the crisis; they ratified some acts that simplify business in Belarus not only for citizens but also for foreign businessmen (Ernst & Young, 2012).
Setting up a business in this country, the entrepreneur should know some social and cultural peculiarities as the fact that attitude towards business is quite negative there. Such an attitude to people who do their own business appeared because of businessmen in late 90s who practiced illegal privatization and unfair trade after the USSR disintegration. Another problem is that there is weak civil society in Belarus. People consider that this kind of work cannot help them to improve the quality of their lives, so they do not want to be the part of civil society. This causes the lack of civil workers in the country. Another problem is that people are too state-oriented there; they consider that only state, not business or civil society, will protect theirs social rights. People believe that only government can solve any kind of their social problems and no one else. And the state leaves this situation without changes because it has more advantages than disadvantages.
Government is the most important regulatory body in the country, and such a regime helps to control all activities and people there. The most serious problem of the society is that people do not believe that market economy can increase the welfare. In other words, they rely on the government and do not consider own wishes. People in Belarus are too tied with a current regime in the country, they do not know how to be independent and have their own business. There are also some other problems in the country, such as lots of questions about business doing are not regulated or just partially regulated by the government. For example, there is no written procedure for opening a computer club in the legislation. This process is partially fulfilled by local authorities in each region, but no one knows how to do it correct. This causes not only a pile of unnecessary actions and documents, but not always positive personal attitude of the authorities to every businessman.
Belarus has very complicated taxation system. There is no single document where all taxes are listed with instructions when, where, and how they must be paid. Nowadays Belarus makes some steps to simplify this system, although it is not enough for doing business easily. In addition, there are no privileges for foreign investors; they work under the same condition as other investors in the country.
Unlike Belarusians, Americans are very independent; they are more enterprising and adventurous. All procedures about business are written and clearly understood by the people. In America, there is an exact structure for any action connected with business. Legislative actions are regulated not by the government, like in Belarus, but by the authorities of a particular state. Businessmen know exactly how much they must pay and where and how they must do it. It is necessary to mention that the USA has the lowest taxes of all developed countries (PKF North American Network, n.d.). It means that American government promotes all kinds of business; therefore, business activity is popular in the USA.
Businessmen are considered as serious, hardworking individuals who know what they want from life. You can easily choose any kind of enterprise and work according to the law. A person of any nationality can start a business in the USA. Businessmen in this country are open, direct, and purposeful; therefore, they are easy people to work with. The great difference between people in the USA and in Belarus is that in America, workers are specialized in one particular sphere and they study hard to be professionals while in Belarus, one person can work in several spheres knowing only 50% of all information that is needed.
America has always been a country of freedoms and people's equality, so there are a lot of civil societies which always fight for their rights. Unlike Belarusians, Americans are very demanding to the government, they are not afraid of speaking and showing their wishes. Civil life in America is very developed, people take part in it with pleasure, and surely, it reflects positively on the quality of their lives.
The distinguish feature of the Americans is that they always rely on themselves only. From the very childhood, they are brought up as individuals who know that if he/she does not care about himself/herself, no one will do it (Foreign businesses doing business in the United States, 2013). People in Belarus believe in government as it is their god. In America, we have the opposite situation. People believe in themselves more than in government, and for business, it is surely a good feature. Also in America, everyone understands that time is precious and everything is done as quickly as possible.
For every your wish in business, there is an exact structure what you should do. After doing all the steps, you will get what you want whether it is a starting up a business or getting a license for a trade. In Belarus, people do not have a clear structure for every business action, so it takes a lot of time to make all the documents, to find out what exactly you need to do, how much you should pay, etc. One more difference is that the Americans are very independent, and they are always ready to fight for their rights; they will never be silent if they disagree on something. I will give an example to make my idea clear. For instance, an entrepreneur was fined baseless. In Belarus this entrepreneur will think that the government knows better the taxation system, and if they want to fine him, he will not be against it. Surely he will not like the idea of being fined, but he will never dispute with the governmental decision. In America, the entrepreneur, who was fined without cause, will not agree to pay this fine until someone explains him clearly the reason of this fine. He will go to the authorities of the state, write claims, or even can go to the court if he knows that the government behaves unfair towards him.
It is quite difficult to make similarities between these two countries as they are completely different. Each has its own ideology, way of life, principles, law, and regime. Export and import is possible in both countries, although doing business in Belarus will be quite difficult for an American company. An American businessman should be ready to put up with all inconveniences that he can face with. First, he should study the government’s system well. As it was said above, this system is very complicated and unclear, but it does not mean that there is no law in Belarus. A person, who is going to do business there, should know at least the basic ones. Secondly, an enterpriser should be ready for negative attitude to businessmen as in Belarus, there are people of the “old stock”, and some of them think that business is not always good. They are sure that if you want to do business in their country, you will cheat them. These people do not understand that foreign investors can develop the economy and improve the quality of life for Belarusians. There are few of such people; still, they exist. Also, the entrepreneur should understand that all questions are decided only by the president; he is the most important person in the country, and he decides personally all deals with foreign investors. Domestic market is well-protected there, and governmental permission for import or export can take a lot of time. In Belarus, people do not think about time so much; thus, some procedures can take too much time; for example, signing a contract or getting any kind of document from the government. One more thing is that there could be too much red tape. American businessmen are not used to such a bureaucracy, so it can cause some kinds of problems, for instance, standing in a queue for a long time, signing a lot of papers, going from one office to another collecting the necessary amount of signatures, etc.
Surely, Belarus is a difficult country to start and make business in not only for American but for any other foreign company. On the other hand, this country is developing now, and it could be quite productive and effective for any entrepreneur to be one of the first foreign companies there. Moreover, the government of Belarus takes steps to simplify the process of starting business in the country not only for citizens, but also for foreigners. They ratify new laws and acts that will clear all the procedures connected with business. The economy of Belarus has grown up for the last two years, and it might be a good and profitable idea of business doing there. The necessary thing to do is to make a neat plan of entering Belarusian market, considering all features of social and cultural peculiarities of this country. It would be not easy but worthy as Belarus produces a lot of quality goods at a good price and does not have many foreign products at their market.