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Export disorientation

Five stories about how exporters of the Far East did not succeed

It is no secret that the export of the Far Eastern territories is mainly of raw materials orientation. Over half is energy. Further, on decreasing - diamonds, precious metals, wood, products of plant origin. More than half of the total volume is frozen and raw fish and seafood. Slightly less than a quarter - timber and wood products. Even less - mining, agriculture and food. There are some engineering products, metalworking, shipbuilding, mainly due to the Khabarovsk Territory, which supplies aircraft to the foreign market, turbines and rolled metal products.

Export disorientation

Meanwhile, there is a task set by the President of Russia - to increase the share of non-primary, non-energy exports by 2024 year by half. The stories collected by the EastRussia agency show that Far Eastern enterprises could cope with the task, and would even like to. But due to bureaucratic obstacles, undeveloped infrastructure, elementary ignorance of the market, so far, as they say, they are marking time.

The first story. Jewelry exports are in Chinese pockets

Magadan and Yakut enterprises, for example, would like to export jewelry. There is a demand for them in the European Union, China and Mongolia. There are potential partners in Bulgaria, however, the entry of the “jeweler” into the foreign market is very difficult due to the overregulation of this activity.

- The main problem of exporting jewelry is customs procedures. The problem is even to go to the exhibition, - says Alexander Pavlov, General Director of the YERI KIERGE company. - Because it takes a lot of time to issue a temporary export at the customs authorities, three to four months, and it is very expensive for money. We made out in Moscow (clearance is only on excise customs posts) consignment of goods for participation in the exhibition. We paid for registration of a customs broker half a million rubles. In the opposite direction you bring the goods - again you lose three months on registration. At the same time, it is impossible to sell products directly at the exhibition. And people in the same Las Vegas were ready to buy the Russian “jeweler” right at the exhibition. They do not want to wait several months until we deliver the goods to partners. We need a volitional decision that will significantly simplify and cheapen the customs clearance of jewelry exports.

The problem concerns everyone who produces jewelry. As a result, the Chinese are buying up “jewelry” in Russia and taking it out in their pockets - manufacturers complain.

“We are trying to create a roadmap for entering the foreign market of jewelry companies, but so far nothing is working out,” said Vladimir Kret, head of a separate division of the Russian Export Center in Khabarovsk.

History Two: Whose Ivan Tea?

Another commodity that could be massively exported from the territory of the Far East is ivan-tea (aka Cyprus). There was a time when willow-tea was exported from Russia even in large volumes than gold and furs. Many companies procure it in Yakutia, in the Khabarovsk Territory, in Kamchatka on a production scale. There are potential consumers, agreements are being made, demand is measured in hundreds of thousands of tons. However, there are also completely inexplicable administrative problems.

“There is neither OKVED, nor GOST, or the fuel pump for iwan tea in Russia,” says Nyurguyan Zamorschikova, an individual entrepreneur from Yakutia. - We presented our products in Japan, we found a large distributor there. He is going to fly to us, see the production. In particular, he is concerned about whether our production meets the Russian standard. And there is no standard.

Meanwhile, the export of fireweed is subject to licensing. To obtain a license, you need approval in Rosprirodnadzor. And for this it is necessary to have a lease agreement for the right to procure firewood. Gather it mostly spontaneously, by the hands of the local population. Tea grows, for example, in areas after forest fires, and only a few years. To conclude a contract for a plot in such conditions is not always advisable.

In this regard, an interesting solution was found by the producers of willow tea in the Kamchatka Territory - the collection site was designed as a Far Eastern hectare. This is the position of the products under the brand “Fairy Kamchatka” marked “products from the Far Eastern hectare”. The company feels confident in the domestic market, but exports are not yet systematically adjusted.

By the way, a similar story - with pine nuts. There is also a huge demand in Asia, but for export you need a license, coordination in Rosprirodnadzor. And there has not yet been developed a provision on the rules for issuing these documents. With 2008, the agency keeps the position in agreement. For now, each company has its own requirements.

The third story: to the mammoth bones

The “war” for the export of products from mammoth tusks has been going on for several years already. They are also licensed. It is necessary to obtain the opinion of the Ministry of Culture or Rosprirodnadzor. The former head of the Ministry of Culture believed that any mammoth tusk was a cultural value, and rejected expert conclusions.

Meanwhile, today in every decent museum of the world there is a mammoth tusk. For the African Zulus this is a trade, a means of survival, a whole industry. At one time, the deputy presidential plenipotentiary in the Far Eastern Federal District, Vladimir Solodov, proposed converting the mammoth's tusks into the category of mineral resources, defining the rules for their production, and the level of reserves. However, the matter did not go further. As a result, products are smuggled. Their consumption in China has increased, and the share of registration has fallen.

Fourth story: how the leg was longer than the hypotenuse

For several years now, Khabarovsk producer of ice cream “Hare” Ilya Amirkhanov has been trying to enter the Chinese and Korean market. The entrepreneur achieved some success - they liked ice cream in the neighboring countries, but elementary logistics are hindering exports.

“Delivery of a batch of ice cream to the depth of the same China is too expensive,” explains the entrepreneur. - It is necessary to load the products onto the steamer, wait until it reaches the foreign port, reload onto the vehicles. All this is long and expensive. We tried to send the car by agreement directly from Khabarovsk to Dalian - it did not work, because the customs in Primorye does not allow transit. It is allowed to work only in the Heilongjiang province, others cannot. The same story with the customs in Pokrovka (Bikinsky District). Meanwhile, cars from Novosibirsk go straight to Dalian as part of the “One Belt - One Way” program. It is illogical somehow.

Fifth Story: Exporters have launched a drawbar

Alas, today even the traditional Far Eastern export goods are falling.

“The production of roundwood in the Far East in 2019 decreased by 50%,” said Alexander Sidorenko, chairman of the Association of Forest Exporters of the Far East, “respectively, the export of round timber fell by half. This is due to the introduction of protective 40-percentage export duties.

The growth of exports of wood products, these losses are not compensated. The cost of sawnwood in the overseas market fell this year by 12% and continues to fall. Due to the economic war of China and the United States, exports of Chinese products are reduced, respectively, domestic consumption of the same treated wood is reduced.

Well, the problem is similar to the situation with ice cream: sending a container with lumber and other products from Siberia to China in the framework of the program “One Belt - One Way” is cheaper than sending a container from Khabarovsk to Suifenhe. The cost of production of wood products in the Far East is much higher than in Siberia, simply because we have more expensive electricity. All together - significant problems for the Far Eastern timber merchants, for whom, by the way, stable exports are a condition for survival.

instead of an epilogue

The narrow industry issues described above are far from the only brake on the export of non-primary goods. The lack of cargo and passenger checkpoints at the Russian-Chinese border seriously hampers foreign economic activity.

A striking example is the passage on the Big Ussuri Island, on which bridges from the Russian and Chinese sides have already been built. The Russian side diligently ignores the proposal of the People's Republic of China to make the transition cargo-passenger. We are ready only for the passenger border crossing: allegedly, if we open the gate for cargo, we will be overwhelmed with cheap products, and our own production will die.

In fact, Russian entrepreneurs are shouting - we need a passenger-and-freight crossing. Deputy Chairman of the Far Eastern Association of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Yevgenia Ohota, on behalf of the entire small business, said: switching to Bolshoy Ussuriisk will make it possible to trade for export and reduce logistics costs. Especially it concerns finished fish, confectionery products, heat-insulating and building materials.

Of course, we can say that all these are particulars, but without addressing specific issues of exporters and manufacturers, the structure of Far Eastern exports will not change towards the growth of non-raw materials, non-energy goods. And most importantly, numerous enterprises and entire industries, which the Asia-Pacific countries and other foreign countries see as the main sales market, will not develop. And this already contradicts the main national idea - the accelerated development of the Far East. 
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