Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

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EEF 2021 Business Agenda: Aiming for a Breakthrough

At the request of EastRussia, Far Eastern experts watched the business program of the Eastern Economic Forum and shared their views

The challenges and prospects of the Far Eastern economy will be discussed on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum. The focus is on breakthrough investment projects, new energy, the situation on the labor market, international trade, and transport infrastructure problems. Far Eastern experts shared their assessment of the EEF-2021 business program.

EEF 2021 Business Agenda: Aiming for a Breakthrough
Photo: Roskognress

Labor market: the problem of personnel is acute

One of the sessions of the Eastern Economic Forum will be devoted to the challenges and prospects of the Russian labor market.

Economic development issues are closely related to a shortage of qualified personnel. The problem is especially acute in the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District and the Arctic.

Director of the Asia-Pacific Institute of Migration Processes, a leading researcher at the Pacific Institute of Geography, Yuri Avdeev, notes that the staff shortage is one of the main obstacles to the implementation of large investment projects that are currently unfolding in the Far East.

“Unfortunately, qualified specialists have to be imported from outside. Against the background of salaries of local personnel, their labor is much more expensive. Accordingly, there is an imbalance, I would even say, a hotbed of social tension. Equally important is the fact that today the total volume of the migrant workforce has dropped significantly. This influx was especially strong in the late 90s and early 2000s, and it seemed that it would always be so. But after 2012, this flow began to decline sharply. The construction industry has suffered the most: along with the Chinese economy, the wages of Chinese workers have grown, so that today they can earn more in their homeland than on construction sites in the Far East. Plus, the demographic situation in the Far Eastern Federal District affects. In the first three months of 2021, Primorsky Krai alone lost more than 5 thousand people of its own, ”the expert comments.

According to Yuri Avdeev, for 30 years in the Far East there has been a decrease in the total volume of migration flows both in one direction and in the other direction. If in the 60-80s the total turnover of migrants in the Far Eastern Federal District increased from 5 to 12 million people every ten years, and this was always with an increase in the number, then since the beginning of the 90s, the volume of the migration flow has also decreased, and there have been more emigrants than come. If earlier the Far East was distinguished by a younger population due to migration, now this macroregion is faced with the problem of population aging.

“To change the demographic situation, it is necessary to change the general specialization of the regional economy. As long as the branches of the resource-export direction will prevail in it, one should not expect a global result. We need a new economic policy aimed at the new industrialization of the Far East - the development of the world's oceans, the production of products with high added value. Then we can expect the arrival of specialists from other regions of Russia and other countries. New industrialization is what, in my opinion, the WEF participants should talk about, ”says Yuri Avdeev.

According to experts, in order to reverse the situation, it is necessary to build a system of targeted advanced training of specialists for the needs of industries and key investment projects. These plans are being implemented through the joint efforts of regional authorities, large employers and the leadership of universities.

For example, Far Eastern colleges have joined the international educational program "Management of changes in the system of professional training for the regional economy" from the Skolkovo innovation center. The initiative is aimed at creating new, effective approaches to teaching college students and developing such priority industries as Shipbuilding, Energy, Forestry, Agriculture, Construction and Tourism and Recreation. For example, in Primorye, the program should contribute to an increase in domestic tourist flow by 2,7 times, an increase in revenues to the regional budget by 1,6 times, an increase in the number of workers employed in tourism and hospitality by 23 thousand people, an increase in turnover by 1,5 times. hotels and other organizations offering tourist services.

Another problem is the lack of a sufficiently high-quality system for analyzing and forecasting the labor market, taking into account all development projects - sectoral, regional, national and others. The creation of an effective analysis and forecasting system will allow planning the volume of demand for workers of certain qualifications and the level of their professional skills both for specific large investment projects and in industry-specific conditions.

According to experts, in order to reverse the situation, it is necessary to build a system of targeted advanced training of specialists for the needs of industries and key investment projects. These plans are being implemented through the joint efforts of regional authorities, large employers and the leadership of universities.

For example, Far Eastern colleges have joined the international educational program "Management of changes in the system of professional training for the regional economy" from the Skolkovo innovation center. The initiative is aimed at creating new, effective approaches to teaching college students and developing such priority industries as Shipbuilding, Energy, Forestry, Agriculture, Construction and Tourism and Recreation. For example, in Primorye, the program should contribute to an increase in domestic tourist flow by 2,7 times, an increase in revenues to the regional budget by 1,6 times, an increase in the number of workers employed in tourism and hospitality by 23 thousand people, an increase in turnover by 1,5 times. hotels and other organizations offering tourist services.

 

Healthy ambitions - new energy

"Healthy ambitions: presentation of breakthrough projects in the Far East" - this is the title of another session of the Eastern Economic Forum, dedicated to the points of growth of the Far Eastern economy.

“Close attention to the development of the Far East and the Arctic on the part of the country's leadership, which calls the rise of the Far East a national priority for the entire XNUMXst century, focus on advanced economic development and the creation of favorable living conditions for people enhances the potential for intensive development of the region. Proximity to large sales markets: Japan, China, South Korea, other countries of the rapidly developing Asia-Pacific region, the development of the Northern Sea Route - in aggregate, contribute to the support and real scaling of successful ideas for the development of the region's export potential, ”the session description says.

Such breakthrough projects are being implemented, including in the field of energy. Thus, the hydrogen agenda no longer sounds like a utopia. It is absolutely real, says Alexander Bekker, head of the International Scientific and Educational Center "MNOTS" Arktika "of the Far Eastern Federal University.

“Hydrogen technology is being debugged in the Far East. Of course, the future belongs to her. It is profitable to produce hydrogen where there are great energy opportunities. For example, Sakhalin produces significant volumes of gas - an environmentally friendly raw material from which even more environmentally friendly hydrogen can be produced. Great prospects in this respect are associated with the shelf of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, the Magadan and Kamchatka shelf, where the gas fields are located, ”comments Alexander Bekker.

According to the expert, we are talking about clean energy, which is economically profitable to produce. New energy is not only relatively cheap to manufacture, but also the safest for the environment.

“The construction of such facilities is not fast and may take 10-15 years. During this time, technologies are being improved, ”the agency's interlocutor notes.

Today, favorable conditions have come for the development of the Arctic and exploration in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, the expert emphasizes. Due to climate warming, perennial ice has moved far from the coast, from the Northern Sea Route. The Russian side is trying to make the most of the opportunities that have opened up. Prospects for new energy are associated with both the western and eastern Arctic, where hydrocarbon deposits are located.

 

"Russia - China": a U-turn from commodity exports

Despite the 2020 pandemic, trade between China and Russia's Far Eastern Federal District totaled $ 10,8 billion. This is 3,3% more compared to the same period last year. Thus, even under the conditions of restrictions, the foundation of the long-term partnership between the Far East of Russia and China made it possible to maintain the positive dynamics of cooperation. Today, the number one task is to switch from raw material exports to exporting products with high added value to the PRC, says Alexander Latkin, professor at VSUES.

“Objective obstacles to increasing trade turnover are associated with the pandemic and closed borders, as well as the requirements of the Chinese authorities for the import of Russian goods - fish, timber and others,” the expert notes. - I think that these restrictions will definitely not be lifted by the end of this year. But next year the situation will change, I believe, primarily due to the emergence of new effective drugs, the creation of which is now working on the world community. "

“As for the subjective factors that are in our power to overcome, and which will be discussed within the framework of the WEF, I will single out the most fundamental one,” continues Mr. Latkin. - In the coming years, we must make the creation of high-tech enterprises on the territory of the Russian Far East that will make it possible to produce high-quality products for export to China as a priority area of ​​trade cooperation. It is necessary, in the end, to put an end to these long years of conversations and get down to business. To export not soy in bags, but deeply processed soy products that meet all international standards, vegetables, dairy and other products with high added value. Then the price of the goods in US dollars or in yuan will be more expensive, and the volume of trade will also increase. "

According to the expert, such goods may be of interest not only to China, but also to other countries of the Asia-Pacific region. For example, Korea is showing increased interest in fish oil production. Such dietary supplements and medicines can be produced in the Far East for subsequent export, Latkin said.

Also, in his opinion, the volume of trade can grow due to modern information technologies of commodity exchange, namely e-commerce. The topic of e-commerce will also receive discussion at EEF-2021.

 

Competition for investment

Of course, the business agenda of the forum is closely related to investment issues. The Russian government has launched the Investment Preservation, Protection and Encouragement Mechanisms (SZPK), a regulatory guillotine, aimed at improving the investment climate in Russia. And this is in addition to special preferential regimes of ASEZ and FPV, which were created purposefully to attract investment to the Far East. How to make all these tools more effective, what else needs to be done in the interests of investors, will be discussed during several events at EEF-2021.

The head of the Far Eastern branch of EY, Alexei Erokhin, notes the increased competition between regions for investment and the need to work on a unified approach to the investor.

“There should be an integrated and comprehensive approach to the implementation of investment projects and, in general, to the implementation of state policy in terms of the development of the Far East and attracting investments in the Far Eastern Federal District. Especially considering that in the face of all kinds of restrictions faced by our country and the world, investors have become more cautious and more careful in choosing projects, ”comments Aleksey Erokhin.

It is necessary to identify the best breakthrough positions in terms of the possible attraction of investment capital for each region, taking into account its specifics, he said.

Valery Petukhov, the head of the department of natural-technical systems and technosphere safety of FEFU, cites the Nakhodka plant of mineral fertilizers in Primorye (NZMU) as one of the most effective investment projects.

According to him, the launch of NZMU with a production volume of 1,8 million commercial products per year will increase the export resource of the Russian methanol market by 60%. The largest consumers of methanol are the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, its consumption in the domestic market of Russia is constantly increasing, and, if necessary, the enterprise will start working to meet the demand within the country. In Primorye, there are all conditions to effectively organize transport logistics for these products.

 

 

Zoom in Far

The accelerated development of the Far East requires a developed transport infrastructure, and in all directions - rail, road and air transport. The focus of EEF-2021 is meridional multimodal transportation, the prospects for inland waterways and the development of "drones".

During the pandemic, the transport issue has become one of the most pressing issues for the business community. Due to the shortage of containers, the cost of services in the maritime container transportation market has grown locally by 7 times. Russian trains with coal and timber accumulate on the railroad.

“The fundamental task here is the development of road and rail systems, sea routes. And now it is becoming more economically profitable to supply goods by trucks. This is not surprising, given the speed of freight trains on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Freight flows with road transport pass through the whole of Russia, and in Vladivostok we see Kamaz trucks from Krasnoyarsk, ”says Alexander Latkin, professor at VSUES.

At EEF-2021, they will discuss the region's current need for transport infrastructure, ensuring the export and import of products, and tariff setting. They will consider the issues of subsidizing rail transport, modernizing the BAM and Transsib, solving problems at border crossings, where truck drivers have systematically declared strikes since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

Note that the business program of the Eastern Economic Forum - 2021 is divided into 4 thematic blocks: "The economy of the new era: what will change and what will remain", "The Far East - new challenges and opportunities", "Shared responsibility in a changed world" and "Youth EEF". The key event of the Eastern Economic Forum will be the plenary session, which is scheduled for September 3.

In addition, within the framework of EEF-2021, business dialogues will be held: "Russia - ASEAN", "Russia - Korea", "Russia - Japan", "Russia - China", "Russia - India", "Russia - Europe".

Detailed information about the Forum program can be found on the official website: forumvostok.ru.

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