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Forest in exchange for investment

In the Far East, new mechanisms for supporting the forestry sector are being applied. The key expectation is the growth of export of processed wood

Forest in exchange for investment
Photo: shutterstock
It is pleasant to talk about the forest reserves in the Russian Far East in comparative terms. For example, if you look at the area, then there are 46,5 hectares of forest per one Far East. For comparison, in China there is only 0,07 hectares per person, while in Japan it is 0,2 hectares. According to some estimates, forest reserves in the Far East and Siberia account for 51% of all reserves in the Asia-Pacific region. According to WWF, this is 11,1 billion cubic meters. m of wood. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, more than 25% of Russia's timber reserves are concentrated in the Far Eastern Federal District, but the degree of development of the forest fund is low - less than 18%.

It is obvious that the local market (and 6,2 million people live in the Far Eastern Federal District) is completely inadequate to the capabilities of the industry. The potential for export development is enormous: even now timber and wood products occupy the third place in the structure of exports of the Far East (in value terms). They account for about 11% of exports, while fish, crustaceans and molluscs - 24%, and 45% - mineral fuels and products of its processing.

In total, according to customs statistics, in 2015 the export of timber from the territory of the Far Eastern Federal District amounted to 847,63 million dollars in monetary terms (in 2014 - 1,03 billion dollars). The decline was largely due to the dynamics of prices for Russian timber. According to the analytical portal Les Online, the average export price for round timber in Russia at the end of 2015 amounted to USD 68,9 per cubic meter. m, while in 2014 and 2013 - about 85,07 dollars per cubic meter. m.

Out of this volume, the export of raw timber amounted to 6 million cubic meters. M (the value of 484,5 million dollars). Unprocessed timber is exported mainly to China (95% of the total volume of exported unprocessed forest), to the Republic of Korea it is 2,5%, to Japan - 2,1% of the volume of exported unprocessed forest.

Exports of processed timber in 2015 by volume increased by more than 9% and amounted to 1,7 million cubic meters. (265%), the Republic of Korea (85%) and Japan (9,5%), are also exported.


ИстоHumbug

An interesting fact: more than 4 million tons of timber products (half of the total export volume) were exported to the PRC by rail through one border crossing. This is Grodekovo - Suifenhe in Primorye. At the same time, timber made up 55,6% of all export cargo transported through international border crossings.


Market near
Speaking about the macroeconomic conditions for the development of the forestry sector of the Far East, in addition to a substantial resource, it is necessary to emphasize the proximity of large foreign consumption centers. The main forest producers are concentrated in Khabarovsk Krai and Primorye. Both regions have a land border with the largest consumer - China; Both have access to the sea and all the necessary port infrastructure for shipping products by sea. To understand the local distances: the ship comes from Vladivostok to the ports of South Korea for 2-3 days, Japan - 3-4 days. Carry a forest from Primorye to Japan in 2-2,5 times closer than from Karelia, for example, to Germany.

This benefit fully manifested itself in the 90s. The practically uncontrolled development of the industry led to an export boom - from 1995 to 2007, the amount of exported wood more than quadrupled, reaching a peak of 4 million cubic meters. m per year, of which 17,5 million cubic meters. m - unprocessed products, round timber. The main buyer was China - Russian raw materials went to factories for the production of furniture, parquet and other products. In fact, China became a monopolist in the purchase of Russian Far Eastern timber, while in China itself, timber imports from the Far East accounted for only 17,2% of all timber imports, yielding to imported volumes from New Zealand, the United States and Canada.

2008 became fatal for export, when several events clashed at once. On the one hand, Russia began to increase the export duty on unprocessed timber. On the other hand, the 2008 financial crisis hit purchasing power in those markets where Chinese products made from Russian timber were destined. Exports fell by half - to 8 million cubic meters. m - and from that moment until this year did not show significant leaps in volume terms.

At the same time, the history of the last eight years of the industry development was characterized by a gradual change in the structure of timber exports. The processing began to grow - a whole wave of investments in manufacturing industries worked. More clearly began to be designated foreign players interested in systemic business development. However, assessments by both experts and officials sound the same: resources are underemployed, export potential is not disclosed, the industry is almost stagnating.

Today, the forest industry is one of the spheres of the economy recognized by the government as priority for development in the Far East - along with the fishing industry, agriculture, oil and gas and mining. Priority is expressed in the targeted use of new support measures created by the government in the Far East, as well as in the search for specific mechanisms that can give a significant impetus to business.


What kind of forest without benefits?
One of the evidences of a new stage in the development of the timber industry complex of the Far East is the activity with which the key players of the industry reacted to the state support measures being created in the region. By now, the timber industry enterprises have already emerged in all the mechanisms for the development of the macroregion created by the Ministry for the Development of the Far East.

In many ways, Investment project of "Asia Forest" company, which received from the ministry a targeted subsidy for the construction of the necessary infrastructure (only 12 investment projects have received such a measure of support in the Far East so far). The company is creating a processing complex with an annual capacity of 200 thousand cubic meters in the village of Berezovy, Khabarovsk Territory. m of dry sawn timber, 100 thousand cubic meters m of profiled sawn timber, 84 thousand tons of fuel pellets and 290 thousand dense cubic meters. m of technological chips. The annual volume of logging is almost a million cubic meters of forest. The total investment is estimated at 8,4 billion rubles, of which 847 million rubles. - targeted subsidy from the federal budget for the construction of 64 km of the road, one bridge over the Nemelen River and a power generation workshop for the enterprise. Reaching the design capacity is scheduled for 2018.

Asia Les is part of the BM group, one of the largest timber producers in Russia. The company's logging and woodworking enterprises operate in several regions, on an area of ​​more than 2,9 million hectares. According to the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, the company's projects are being implemented with the attraction of investments from the PRC. The company has already declared the existence of long-term foreign trade contracts for the supply of products to the markets of Europe, Korea, Japan and China.

Another support mechanism - the regime of the territory of advanced development (TOR) The group of companies RFP used.  Subsidiaries of the holding - LLC Amur Timber Industry Company and JSC Amur Industrial Center - are working at the Amursk site of the Komsomolsk ASEZ to open a production of peeled veneer in the amount of 300 thousand cubic meters. m per year and sawn timber in the amount of 250 thousand cubic meters. m per year. Investments are estimated at more than 12 billion rubles. with the creation of 650 jobs.

According to Vladimir Grigoriev, Managing Director for Timber Processing at Amurskaya Timber Industry Company LLC, “the construction of the second sawn timber plant is in the active phase. Our plans are to deliver the first product at the beginning of 2017. Products will be export-oriented - Korea, China, Japan. The first project is in the operational phase and has a stable utilization of at least 60%. The main product is veneer. The main export country is Japan. The third project is under development - pellet production. Its main goal is to balance the use of raw materials and production waste from the first two projects. The products will also be export-oriented. We expect to implement the project within two years. "
RFP is the largest timber industry group in the Far East and one of the largest in Russia. The RFP forest fund is 4,5 million hectares, and the annual harvesting volume is more than 2 million cubic meters. m, which is 15% of the total logging in the Far East. The RFP group includes more than 30 enterprises that form a single technological chain - from forest planting and harvesting to processing, transportation and sale of forest products to end users.

RFP accounts for over 15% of Russian timber exports to China and over 5% of Russian exports to Japan. The company is also the largest producer and exporter of sawn timber in the Far East with an annual production volume of 300 thousand cubic meters. m (excluding facilities under construction).

The priority development area regime allows the investor to receive significant benefits and preferences. Among them - reduced income tax (the first 5 years from the first profit - from 0% to 5%, the next 5 years - from 10%), land tax 0% for 3 years, exemption from property taxes, reduced rates of insurance premiums - 7,6%, preferential rental rates, accelerated VAT refund procedure and others.

Finally, just a month ago, there was information that Another largest Far Eastern forestry enterprise is Arkaim LLC - will become a resident of the free port of Vanino. The free port regime (implemented in accordance with the Federal Law "On the Free Port of Vladivostok") in terms of the set of benefits for residents is very close to the regime of the priority development territory. The company itself is not in the best shape now - the litigation with creditors continues. However, according to the company's management, an agreement has been reached to date on the entry of Chinese investors into the project, who will not only cover the company's debts, but also invest in increasing the complex's production capacity by 80-100%. If initially "Arkaim" cost 14,3 billion rubles, then the cost of additional investments in the development of production is 1,42 billion rubles.


The resource will be given priority to investors
It can not be said that the export structure meets today those responsible for the development of the Far East. The share of logs accounts for 70% of exported wood - and this despite the high export duties for timber, which are 25% for DFO enterprises. In fact, high duties lead to a decrease in the competitiveness of the Russian goods, but not enough to encourage investors to process.

Representatives of the Far Eastern forestry industry regularly call on the authorities to reduce the export duty - an increase in production (and hence exports) will have an effect in increasing tax payments to regional budgets. At the same time, the model, which had been discussed for a long time at the level of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, was intended to link business interests with investment in the creation of processing industries. In February, for example, at one of the meetings, a proposal was formulated to link the provision of benefits for the payment of customs duties with investments in the creation of forest infrastructure and processing industries.

In September, this measure of support acquired a new meaning - Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the need for a new formula for the Far Eastern timber merchants at the Eastern Economic Forum. The presidential instructions following the results of the WEF speak of the need to develop and put into effect in the Far East a mechanism for providing preferential access to mineral deposits, subsoil plots, fish-breeding and forest areas for investors implementing projects to create enterprises for the production of high-tech products and processing in such territories. appropriate raw materials. That is, preferential (according to some sources - no auction) access to the resource in exchange for investment in the industry.


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