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Far East in the tail, Khabarovsk Territory - in front

Head of the Far East CCI Igor Vostrikov on investment achievements and failures

Far East in the tail, Khabarovsk Territory - in front
- How do you assess the current state of the entrepreneurial and investment climate in the Far East in general and in the Khabarovsk Territory in particular? How much is it favorable for business?

- We are called the Far Eastern Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but we work as a regional chamber of the subject. We are interested in the state of affairs in the district, but we are talking more about the Khabarovsk Territory. The entrepreneurial community in the Far East is characterized by a small number and rather unbalanced structure of the ratio by industry. Naturally, this is more a service sector, trade, a little manufacturing business, but if we talk about the ratio of small, medium and large business, then it can be called a large one at a stretch. Geographically, it's here, but it's more of a production site. The owners and decision-makers are not here.

For the fifth year already a lot of work has been done to create a favorable investment climate in the Far East. These are those efforts that are aimed at the introduction of different types of standards. Now these are target models for improving the investment and business climate. If we talk about these models, yesterday literally watched the results, the Far Eastern District takes the last place among the districts for the implementation of these target models. Their 12, they cover several blocks, directly investment, a block of control and supervision activities, investment reforms, timing of connection to networks, obtaining various permits. The whole country is working on this. We close the list, but the Khabarovsk Territory drops sharply, it is among the top five in the country. From this point of view, we have a favorable climate.

- Tell us more about these 12 models?  

- The Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) has developed several projects aimed at improving the investment and business climate in the country. In fact, this is a review and development of the best practices, which were then packed into a minimal set, which should be on the territory, in order for everything to work. Target models reflect the work that can be calculated and evaluated in physical terms. On these indicators, we are above average Russian. Based on the results of the national rating, the Khabarovsk Territory rose immediately to 40 place. Soon there will be a new rating. Now the task is to make the entire Far East enter the 30-ku.

- Why was the DFO an outsider, why are we stalling?

- And that's an old story. We are deprived of many competitive advantages due to tariffs, geographic remoteness, lack of qualified labor force, low competitiveness of our exports, again due to high tariffs. Here you can gush with ideas, but it is not so easy to implement them. Just an example: the timing of obtaining a building permit hinders investment attraction. It's about conditions. The same control and supervision activities, connection to networks, registration of rights, cadastral valuation. 

But in the Far East there are new tools for development: ASEZs, the Far Eastern hectare, the free port of Vladivostok. Everyone has some success, some are progressing, some are not. TOP "Khabarovsk" is successfully developing, there are investors, there is interest, but it is naive to expect that such things will appear throughout the year! 3-5 years should pass before it will be possible to summarize and compare, all the more we are talking about our foreign partners. Our closest neighbors have one policy, where government regulation plays an important role, including with regard to investment activities directed outside. The Japanese and Koreans have their own case. But on the whole, the process is going on, institutions, the regional investment and development agency, the Ministry of Development of the Far East are being created.  

- What is the role of regional organizations of the RF CCI in creating a favorable business climate? The situation in the Khabarovsk Territory and other regions of the DFO in this sense is different? 

- The Chamber has two functions: protection of interests and promotion of its members, that is, it is closer to the activities of business associations. We discuss our problems, we bring them to the authorities, regional, municipal. The second role is a set of services for escort, for protecting business, providing information and consulting services, developing foreign economic relations, and searching for partners. There are more narrowly specialized services, such as expertise, work on intellectual property protection, translations. We are a powerful information resource, because the Chamber is spread all over the world practically.

- Can an entrepreneur who is not in your ranks come to you for help?

- Of course, we always say that we are members of the Chamber, but we work with any entrepreneur, because it is not easy to motivate a company to enter, it is necessary to achieve it. Our sources of income are membership fees, and those income that we have from the provision of services. There is a law of the Russian Federation on the CCI, in accordance with it we are allowed to earn money.   

- To what extent are the entrepreneurs of the Far East ready to take initiatives with the authorities through professional associations (such as the CCI of DVPP, the DVEPP, the regional offices of the "Russian Support", etc.)? How effective is this? 

- We have a small percentage of those who are generally ready to do business. According to various estimates, in the Khabarovsk Territory from 3 to 5% of entrepreneurs who are ready to unite - under the flag of "Chamber" or "Oporia". The rest are on their own. Someone is looking for legal protection, or understands that it is easier to resolve issues on behalf of a certain number. We have 160 members, but we have a union, and only legal entities are members - companies, enterprises, universities, individual entrepreneurs. There is the concept of associate membership, for example, members of the FBOF are also with us. They have their own base, but they also have individuals, in general, about 600 members.

We are addressed, for example, with a request to find a partner in the field of agricultural products. We found in Mongolia and China. They helped with the issues of conducting foreign economic activity in the same PRC. And from the Far Eastern hectares it happens, they come and say: you have to help me think of what to do there.   

- Are there any "competition" between business associations for active and highly professional representatives of the business community who are ready to conduct public work in addition to business? How is this competition won by the CCI of the CCI?

- Now they say that we have four large federal-level associations. The Big Four: these are CCI, OPORA Rossii, Delovaya Rossiya and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Everyone has a different structure, a vertical, someone Moscow, regional chambers are more independent, they just enter the system of the chambers of Russia. The RSPP is represented in the Khabarovsk Territory by the employers' union. Everyone declares that they can deal with a wide range of tasks, in any case, there is a discrepancy in niches. There are issues that are delegated to the Chambers by the state, on issuing certificates of origin, for example. As far as protection is concerned, every association has its members. Such competition, so that it went into the stage of unfair competition, I do not feel. Given that the queue is not worth the entry, everyone is trying to offer their services. Companies that have a double, triple membership receive what they lack in each of these associations. 

We are not in competition. We have a lot of experience. Experts sit here every day, do work, help business. Here sits a lawyer behind the wall, she gives advice. The Chamber is one of the oldest business associations. Long history: there was the Chamber of the Soviet Union, then it was reformed into the Russian Chamber. The department of the USSR chamber was created in Khabarovsk back in the 70th year, there was a Far Eastern chamber as a subject's chamber. In accordance with the law on chambers, we have been working since 92. This is the term. 

We are known, we are overgrown with connections, contacts, including international ones. In Soviet times, the chamber in general was engaged only in servicing foreign economic relations. Given that the chamber is ubiquitous, this makes it a powerful source of business information. Every day we receive a large amount of commercial offers, requests for cooperation, invitations to various exhibition and congress events. Information we bring to the attention of our members. The Chamber is a platform for dialogue between business and government and between business and business partners.      

- You personally are a part of several collegial consultative structures under the authorities of the Khabarovsk Territory. Do these tools work?

- This is the main tool for dialogue. I can compare how this dialogue was built by 10 and more years ago with what is happening now. Now officials without a representative of a public organization do not take any decisions, legally, strategically, and tactically everything passes through discussion, examination. Now the results of the national investment rating will be summed up, there is a principle one: the executive bodies work, assess the business through expert communities. Experts assess, perform or fail, and no one can influence them if they have set a "zero". The council issues certain questions, they are discussed, a decision is made, or the work is changed, or measures are taken. The same council on entrepreneurship, he used to be with the governor, now he is headed by the governor, and his deputy is a representative of the business community.

This begs the question: well, there is advice, but what exactly are they doing? Here is the last piece of advice that addressed the issue posed by the President and the Government on the development of entrepreneurship in social spheres. Traditional areas - health, education, social services, have always been considered to be patronized by the state. We are making proposals, the relevant authorities are making adjustments, the same target models, conditionally for some items it was necessary to wait 350 days, now 90. The process is underway. That is the value of target models, that they carry specific indicators in days and hours. To fulfill them, specialized sectoral groups for ministries are created, narrow specialists decide how to solve this issue, this is a completely project-based approach. And it is convenient for entrepreneurs when they work through associations. And it is more convenient for the authorities to work with an association than with a certain individual businessman.

- What tasks facing the business associations in the Far East in the horizon 3-5 years, in your opinion, are the first? 

- For the next 5 years, we need to establish an effective system of interaction to receive feedback. To entrepreneurs felt that there really is a platform where they can discuss issues, put problems so that then they reach the authorities. Now, at a certain level, this dialogue is built. Power and the business community in the form of their associations, and associations in the form of their leaders. It is necessary to ensure that members of these associations begin to integrate more actively into the system of work with the authorities in order to improve their lives. We also need to implement the project of the digital chamber for 5 years, to translate all services that are possible, into electronic form. 

The second is to build in the region a system of regional international relations, to develop institutions, yes, a fashion word. We organized a regional Russian-Japanese business council. When we talk about Japan, these are usually major projects at the state level, we would like to see more involvement of small businesses in order to reduce the company to the company. The western coast of Japan closest to us is the center of border ties. About bitcoins do not think. New - and whether you need to invent or not? It is necessary to strengthen work in the investing network of the Russian chamber. Further development is a question not so much economic as demographic, everyone understands that there simply are not enough specialists and workers. It is necessary to develop a system of professional qualifications, to address issues related to improving the quality of the workforce. Business should talk about what it lacks. We will soon overtake the whole world, we have everything for business, only business for some reason does not develop as we would like ...

"What's stopping me?"

- So, we have not yet groped for some basic conditions that the business lacks. And then another thing: the generation is changing, the entrepreneur who created himself at the beginning of 90's with all the stories is one thing, and the young man who recently came to life and decided, having some opportunity to do business, is different. And when there are so many assistants and everyone says that “we will help here, we will help here”, a dependent attitude may appear among businessmen. It is also an association that is engaged in supporting exports, but it cannot fully take over all business activities. Sometimes we say - here are our foreign colleagues offering to participate in a project, let's. The answer is: let them first provide me with sales, call them how to take the products, although this is already a business of the entrepreneur. It does not have a total practice, but faced. I know young people who seriously and successfully develop their business, the approach of all different, not always people clearly imagine what the degree of risk. We are talking a lot with colleagues about the fact that the basics of self-employment, entrepreneurial activities need to start preparing at school, so that a person is guided by what kind of activity this is.     

- What is the lack of a federal resource that can be provided to regional business communities of the RF CCI? Is there anything else to work in this direction?

- There is a federal chamber with enough powerful resources, methodical, educational, and so on, which always helps the regional chambers with advice and support. According to the law on chambers of commerce and industry, each constituent entity has its own chamber, that is, the Sakhalin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Primorsky Chamber of Commerce and Industry, etc. In Chukotka, only for some reason.

If we talk about relations with the authorities, there are two recent trends: on the one hand, many problems are not solved at the level of the region and the subject, because they must be solved at the federal level. In this regard, it is important to work with the representatives of the federal structures who are represented here in order to constantly convey their vision and inform about problems. The tax service, if you take how much they said about the very complex administration, a large amount of documents. In recent years, entrepreneurs themselves admit that everything has become easier in terms of interaction with the tax service. Much has gone into electronic form. But the tax burden is growing. Benefits and preferences are either withdrawn or introduced without the consent of entrepreneurs. Although there is some opportunity to influence the processes, issues related to monopoly rights and competition often end up at the same federal level. And there are also local governments, which are thing-in-themselves. All life goes on at the level of the city, village.   

Not everyone, of course, can live in the Far East. The discussion has long been conducted, that we need either a single economic space, so that here as well as in Moscow it was, but it does not work out. After all, to be here as in Moscow, people should be the same as in Moscow, and the distances are not the same. We know that a large project can not be implemented here, simply because few people live.   
On the other hand, all these new development tools are present only here. Recently, residents of the free port of Vladivostok came to Khabarovsk and showed on figures that they participate in projects as residents.

Since this year, the SPV regime was also extended to Khabarovsk and the Khabarovsk Territory. And when this was all introduced, there was criticism, many believed that it was impossible to act so that the fence would not develop, that there was one economy, there is another one. But it is clear that the process is on. The same goes for the territories of advanced development. We experienced a period when graduates were all going to study economists and lawyers, there was prestige of some working specialties. The person who deals with World Skills said that recently there is a tendency that young people are ready to create dynasties, to run a family business, cabinetmakers, for example. The number of such points on the map is increasing, and this is very inspiring.
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