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The Belarusian Economy

Most of the Belarusian economy remains state-controlled, and has been described as "Soviet-style." Thus, 51.2% of Belarusians are employed by state-controlled companies, 47.4% are employed by private Belarusian companies (of which 5.7% are partially foreign-owned), and 1.4% are employed by foreign companies. The country relies on imports such as oil from Russia. Important agricultural products include potatoes and cattle byproducts, including meat. As of 1994, the biggest exports from Belarus were heavy machinery (especially tractors), agricultural products, and energy products.

Belarus's largest trading partner is Russia, accounting for nearly half of total trade in 2006. As of 2006, the European Union is Belarus's next largest trading partner, with nearly a third of foreign trade. Because of its failure to protect labor rights, however, Belarus lost its E.U. Generalized System of Preferences status on 21 June 2007, which raised tariff rates to their prior most-favored nation levels. Belarus applied to become a member of the World Trade Organization in 1993.

The currency of Belarus is the Belarusian ruble (BYR). The currency was introduced in May 1992, replacing the Soviet ruble. The ruble was reintroduced with new values in 2000 and has been in use ever since. As part of the Union of Russia and Belarus, both states have discussed using a single currency along the same lines as the Euro. This has led to the proposal that the Belarusian ruble be discontinued in favor of the Russian ruble (RUB), starting as early as 1 January 2008. As of August 2007, the National Bank of Belarus is no longer pegging the Belarusian ruble to the Russian ruble. The banking system of Belarus is composed of 30 state-owned banks and one privatized bank.

Source: Wikipedia


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