A quarter of a century ago, on March 20, 1996, the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus No. 114 "On Free Economic Zones on the Territory of the Republic of Belarus" was published. The Decree became the main document that opened the way for the creation of the "Brest" FEZ and the formation of free economic zones in other regions of Belarus.
According to the Decree, the first Free Economic Zone "Brest" was established in the country. Soon, "Brest" FEZ has become a territory of new opportunities for innovative forms of doing business and for implementation of successful investment projects with participation of foreign capital.
In January 1992, a Committee of Zonal Entrepreneurship was formed at the Brest Regional Executive Committee. It was headed by Nikolai Anatolyevich Krivetsky. Nikolai Anatolyevich made a great personal contribution to the creation of the first free economic zone in Belarus For 10 years he had been working at its development as a head of the “Brest” FEZ Administration.
In a short time, the regulatory and legal framework had been worked out. The “Regulations on "Brest" Free Economic Zone” had been approved. Subsequently, these documents and practical developments became the basis for the continuation of the legislative process and the Law "On Free Economic Zones" adoption in 1998.
The special legal regime established by the law, meaning a simplified procedure for export-import operations and customs privileges for the import of raw materials, combined with tax preferences and a simplified business registration procedure, provided additional incentives for the implementation of new investment projects in the Brest region.
On December 19th, 1996, first resident was registered in the first FEZ of Belarus. In July 1997, followed the first company with foreign capital, and in October 1997, a real economic "heavyweighter" appeared there - “Black Red White”, the Polish furniture manufacturer. During the first year of the zone work, 31 residents were registered in the FEZ.
Over the time, not only the number of residents grew, but the zones borders were also expanded. Currently, the territory of "Brest" FEZ comprises 17 investment sites located in the cities of Brest, Baranovichi, Pinsk, Kobrin, Ivatsevichi, Gantsevichi and adjacent areas. The total area is 10802.6 hectares (over 108 km²).
Since 1997, systematic work has been carried out to create an engineering and transport infrastructure for the investment sites. The construction of roads, stretched lines of energy supply, communications, gas and water supply, sewerage and treatment facilities allowed new residents to carry out their business projects faster and without financial costs.
Since the establishment of the first free economic zone, the volume of investments has been growning steadily. Currently, dozens of large investors are working in "Brest" FEZ. Among them, the leading position is held by the JV "Santa Bremor" LLC.
Santa Bremor is one of the largest food manufacturers in Europe. The resident of the "Brest" FEZ produces over 1000 types of products.
Among the largest investors of the free economic zone, it is necessary to mention the enterprises of the Gefest Holding - Gefest-Technica and Gefest-Quartz - manufacturers of modern household appliances with high consumer properties. The production of another resident of the "Brest" FEZ - "PP Polesie" - one of the largest manufacturers of plastic toys in Europe and the CIS is well-known in more than 70 countries of the world.
The resident company "STiM Brest" supplies materials and equipment for road marking not only for Belarus, but also for Russia, Bulgaria, Morocco, Poland, Spain, Iran, the USA and other countries.
Significant volumes of investments were made by such economic entities as "BRW-Brest", "Involux", "ANREX", "Inko-Food", "Vegas", "Vastega", "VOX Profiles". These companies are steadily increasing the export of their products outside Belarus.
By 2020, the total investment of residents- companies had amounted to $ 1.8 billion.
Currently, 74 residents are registered in the "Brest"FEZ, including 47 with the participation of foreign capital. The enterprises employ 22.4 thousand people. In the year of 2020, the FEZ economic entities exported goods worth $ 770 million. The export geography counts 80 countries of the world.
In June 2020, a new business entity was registered in the "Brest" FEZ - LLC "Polipol Mebel Bel". The new resident is a part of the German holding POLIPOL. The project is being implemented on the territory of the "Brest" FEZ in Ivatsevichi.
The company intends to invest over 25 million euros in production and to create more than 1,000 jobs. At the same time, 90% of the manufactured products will be sold on foreign markets, mainly in Germany and other European countries.
The success of the first free economic zone of Belarus helped to create more FEZs in Belarus: “Gomel-Raton” FEZ, “Minsk”FEZ, "Vitebsk"FEZ, "Mogilev"FEZ and "Grodnoinvest" FEZ. Thus, currently, all the regions of Belarus have free economic zones, which make significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the regions.
The Decree signed in March 1996 gave the green light to the creation of FEZs in our country, which have become an integral part of the economic potential of the regions and the whole Belarus. The document made it possible to create more conditions for attracting foreign investors, increasing the export opportunities of enterprises, creating new jobs and developing international trade and economic cooperation.