The Russian Far East and Eastern Siberia to Determine Russia’s Economic Growth

23 november 2015

The Russian Export and Investment Forum REIF took place at the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation. Representatives of foreign companies and organizations involved in development and promotion of trade took part in the event. The Forum is a platform for cooperation of Russian and foreign potential business partners, expansion of exports of goods to the international market and attracting profitable investments in successful business projects.

Opening the plenary session ‘The Asian trend: prospects for development of foreign trade activities and investment cooperation’ the Vice-President of the Russian Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry Georgy Petrov noted that the Russian Far East and Eastern Siberia will determine Russia’s economic development in the 21 century. Russia makes great efforts to strengthen the trade cooperation with its nearby neighbors, according to the expert. ‘Complex processes take place, new challenges appear. Thus, the Trans-Pacific Partnership influences the global trade system and creates new work conditions,’ said the expert. It is the eastern vector of development of Russia which can contribute to solving economic woes, according to Mr Petrov.

The Deputy Minister for Development of the Far East Maxim Shereikin recalled the establishment of priority development territories. ‘Russian investors have specific applications that reaffirm their willingness to invest into this project, and foreign investors still assess it,’ said the official. According to him, the first investment will be made next year. Another initiative of the Ministry is a creation of a free port of Vladivostok. ‘This is another mode, a larger area than a priority development territory. It consists of 15 municipalities and districts of the Primorsky Krai,’ Mr Shereikin said. A free trade zone, duty-free imports and exports of goods, implementing the unprecedented tax concessions, organizing facilitated stay of foreigners for up to 8 days and the processing visas at the border are planned to be created there, the official listed. ‘Our task is to create a platform in order to sell not raw materials but processed products from these raw materials. For this purpose we are creating a special investment climate, competitiveness compared with our neighbors and soften the administrative barriers for investors,’ Ms Shereikin summed up.

Within the Forum 6 round tables were held devoted to export possibilities of Russia and China, problems of cooperation with ASEAN, export financing when entering the Asian market, the investment potential of regions and state measures to stimulate exports. Experts discussed the possibility for attracting investments, ways to strengthen cooperation in agriculture, energy industry and tourism. Leading experts from China, Thailand, Japan and Malaysia made their reports at thematic sessions.

The representative of China He Zhenwei noted that in China there is a bilateral investment process: China continues to attract foreign investors and yet it becomes one of the largest investors. At the same time the President of the Russian-Chinese Analytical Center Sergei Sanakoyev mentioned impressions of Chinese businessmen with whom he has been collaborating for a long time. ‘For many years, China has been making an emphasis on attracting investments, for which it created the most favorable conditions. When the Chinese business comes to the Russian market, it expects that it will be met and greeted the same way. However, in Russia the attitude to foreign investors is completely different, and some Chinese businessmen get the impression that they are not welcomed, although officials talk on the establishment of priority development territories and special economic zones and other conditions for their work,’ said the expert. Chinese investors are number one in all countries and on all continents, while Russia occupies less than 2% in the investment portfolio of China, the expert noted with regret.

The Forum provided an opportunity to get up to date information on state and prospects of development of export and investment activities to participants, as well as to expand the circle of business contacts. The Forum was organized by the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives and the Russian Trade and Economic Development Council.