• Alexander Galushka: Russia’s Far East has received RUB 100 billion in investment in month since Eastern Economic Forum

    14 October 2016

    Total investment in the region amounts to RUB 1.232 trillion, said the Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East in an interview with the newspaper Izvestia.

    Following the conclusion of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), Vladimir Putin issued a number of directives on the development of Russia’s Far East. According to Mr Galushka, these all resulted from the President’s speech at the Forum and previous work to develop the region. He singled out the creation of the energy super ring involving Russia, Japan, South Korea, and China, as particularly important. An intergovernmental task force is to be set up to support the project.

    Immediately after the EEF, Mr Galushka visited Japan, where he met officials and representatives of major Japanese companies, including Mr Hiroshige Sekō, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry and Minister for Economic Cooperation with Russia, and Mr Yuji Yamamoto, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.

    “We discussed specific economic issues and the implementation of joint projects in the Russian Far East. For example, we are actively working not only to create a joint platform between Russia’s Far East Development Fund and Far East Investment and Export Agency and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), but also to set up a joint special-purpose entity that will work to attract Japanese investment to Russia’s eastern regions. We plan to complete the first stage by the end of this year. In addition, Russia’s Kolmar and Japan’s Marubeni Corporation have signed a cooperation plan. By December, the companies hope to sign documents on cooperation in the coal industry in Yakutia, and on port infrastructure in Khabarovsk Territory. There has been interest in projects in infrastructure, resource processing, urban development, medicine, and agriculture. Our Japanese colleagues propose setting up joint platforms in the Russian Far East, and making use of best practices and leading Japanese technologies. By the end of the year, we plan to reach specific agreements on these projects”, said Mr Galushka.

    A number of new regulations concerning Vladivostok Free Port took effect on 1 October. In particular, there is a new mechanism to allow vehicles and goods to pass through the Free Port.

    “What this means is 24-hour checkpoint operations, a ‘one-stop shop’ for goods crossing Russia’s national border, and the introduction of electronic submission of documents for customs control. The nature of the information to be provided to the customs services for the goods to be cleared has been confirmed. To save time, the details are provided in advance, at least two hours before the goods arrive. All of this will make it possible to optimize control at checkpoints and reduce the amount of time the procedure takes”, the Minister said.

    Mr Galushka announced that a number of important bills concerning the Far East would be presented during the autumn session of the State Duma.

    “The Russian Far East is expecting a law reducing energy tariffs to the average Russian level. By the next EEF, amendments to the simplified visa regime for foreign citizens wishing to enter Russia via Vladivostok Free Port should have taken effect. We are also preparing arrangements to exempt investors from profits tax on the amount they invest in creating external infrastructure in the Russian Far East (for example, where they take on the burden of constructing roads, power lines, and social infrastructure themselves). These arrangements will apply for as long as making such tax payments would prevent them from recouping their investment. The document is currently completing government approval”, said Mr Galushka.