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By the principle of "one window"

Deputy Director of Invest Agency Primorsky Territory Elena Yaskevich talking with EastRussia

How the Investment Agency of the Primorsky Territory works, what an investor needs to do to secure the support of this structure, and how the Eastern Economic Forum, the Free Port of Vladivostok and the TORs will help in the development of Primorye, Elena Yaskevich, First Deputy Director of the Investment Agency of the Primorsky Territory, told East Russia.

According to principle
 Elena Viktorovna what role does the Agency play in shaping the investment climate in the region, what work does it do to attract investors?

- Even at the stage of creating the Investment Agency, the main goal of its activities was to provide services in the field of improving the investment climate in the Primorsky Territory. For this, the agency participates in the development of investment projects, in the implementation of major program projects and events aimed at promoting the investment image of the region among Russian and foreign investors.

In addition, the agency ensures interaction of potential investors with state authorities and municipalities of the region. As a rule, an investor, especially a foreign one, does not understand how to build relationships with authorities, and here you need, if you like, some kind of intermediary who will speak with him in the language of business, and not in the language of officials.

Now the agency is, in fact, a service center, which is focused on supporting investment projects on the principle of "one window". This means that an investor can contact us with any question: from obtaining advice in the financial, legal or marketing area to developing an investment agreement, solving administrative problems or searching for a land plot to locate production. The only thing he has to do is come to the agency and fill out an application for project support. Agency managers will consult, review the project, if necessary, give advice on how to eliminate shortcomings in the business plan. In addition, the managers will develop a joint action plan with the investor, the implementation of which will allow faster achievement of the result, and help in promoting the project. For example, we can include it in our catalog, present the project at congresses, at exhibitions, including international ones. As a rule, at such events there is a common stand of the region and many of our partners participate in such a collective stand in order to jointly show investment potential, specific investment projects, get new contacts and, possibly, new investors.

We also assist in finding financing for investment projects that are being implemented in Primorye. We have information on what government programs are being implemented in the region, what are the conditions for joining them. We can give professional advice to a potential investor in terms of which of the programs he can enter with his project, on what conditions, how to properly draw up documents.

In addition, investors are offered various forms of federal and regional support. Our managers can tell you about these forms of support, help arrange the necessary package of documents, and provide clarifications on procedural issues.

I must separately note that we have agreements with a number of banking institutions that are constantly changing and expanding their product line, including those with an investment focus. We monitor these changes and can advise certain banking products for our partners.

Thus, on the one hand, we accumulate a large amount of various information, process it and make it understandable for investors. On the other hand, we act as an intermediary between the government, business, and other organizations and make their interaction more comfortable.

— What measures are being taken to attract investors to the region in order to increase its attractiveness?

- Promotion of the region is, of course, a very important task of the Investment Agency, but it is also the task of the entire region, all executive authorities, business and expert communities. We will be able to achieve results only if we jointly move towards a common goal. If we are talking about specific measures, they can be divided into levels: regional and federal. A variety of methods are used here: financial, administrative and marketing.

First of all, I would like to dwell on the holding of major congresses and exhibitions, political and economic events in Primorye. This is one of the constituent parts of the formation of the image. Today, the APEC summit, the first Eastern Economic Forum, can be considered the really key events for the region.

Holding events, including such large ones as the WEF, is important, but they must be effective. This implies the conclusion of various agreements and contracts. In order to reach such agreements, sign contracts, it is necessary to carry out a long, complex preliminary work, and the key to success in this work is the competitive offers that we can provide.

The investor enters those regions where there is a transparent and understandable regulatory environment that determines the rules of the game. Therefore, the region pays great attention to improving the regulatory framework. This includes legislation protecting the rights of investors. For example, the regional law on state support for investment activities in the Primorsky Territory has been significantly changed, which defines the forms of support for investors and their rights.

In our region, we have adopted legislative acts on the provision of tax incentives for all investors who work in any territory of Primorye. If an investor invests at least 50 million rubles within 3 years in the implementation of the project, he can receive regional tax benefits on profits and property. In this case, the income tax rate in the regional part is zero in the first 5 years, and 5 percent in the next 10 years, and the property tax rate in the first 5 years is zero, and 5 percent in the next 0,5 years. This is a significant reduction compared to pre-existing conditions.

Primorye differs from other subjects in that special economic regimes work here. There are several of them.

Today one of such regimes is heard - the Free Port of Vladivostok. It covers 15 municipalities, almost the entire south of the region. In October, the law on it will come into force. There are significant preferences for potential residents here. In total, the implementation of all preferences in the territory will provide savings for business of about 40 percent. This, of course, will contribute to the accelerated implementation of investment projects in this zone by reducing costs.

Here one cannot fail to mention the territories of advanced social and economic development that are being formed in the region. An important difference between them is that infrastructural objects are created at the expense of budgetary resources. Within these territories, there are also significant benefits and preferences, as well as in the Free Port. However, TOPs have certain boundaries, and only within their framework we can talk about the opportunities that the law provides. Within the Free Port, these boundaries are much wider.

Another important issue for investors is labor resources. When such a huge number of different projects are being implemented, of course, a significant influx of qualified personnel will be required, capable of implementing all large projects. In this regard, certain steps are also being taken in Primorye. For example, by a resolution of the regional administration, the subprogram "Increasing the mobility of labor resources" was approved for 2015-17 years. It provides for the possibility of co-financing the costs of investors to attract highly qualified labor resources to the region. Already in 2015 in Primorye, in accordance with this program, about 300 workers will be attracted. In 2016, it is planned to attract about 200 employees, in 2017 - more than 350.

In 2015, the participants of such a program are the Zvezda plant, which intends to employ more than 70 people, as well as the Dobroflot group of companies, which plans to attract more than 200 people to develop its production facilities.

Another, I think, an important condition is the quality of life of the population. First, it is housing. The governor of the region has set the task of increasing the volume of housing construction in the region up to 1 million square meters of total area per year, and this, in our opinion, will allow solving the housing problem in Primorye and attracting new labor resources. Now we have several large housing construction projects, including economy class, in our agency.

Secondly, there should be places in the region where a resident can go, where he can see something, spend his leisure time. From this point of view, we have a unique nature and the sea, which nature itself gave us, and the geographical position obliges us to make the most of this competitive advantage. But this is not enough. We need cultural objects that will become the center of attraction for tourists and residents of the region. Such objects are now being created, for example, the opera and ballet theater. From January 1, 2016, it will become one of the stages of the Mariinsky Theater, and, in my opinion, this is a very important achievement. Those who live beyond the Urals, in Siberia, in the Far East, and those who live in the Asia-Pacific region, now do not need to go to St. Petersburg to watch ballet or opera performances, they can do it in our theater.

The educational base is also worth noting. The Federal University, which was built, is, of course, one of the most modern university complexes, which has no analogues in the Far East. An indicator of the recognition of FEFU is that people from the Asia-Pacific region and from the center of the country come here to study. There are students who came to study at FEFU from the Moscow region, Yekaterinburg and other large cities.

 Were there any specific major agreements with investors signed at the EEF, which ones?

- The agency assisted in the preparation of many agreements signed at the WEF. In three days, 22 agreements were signed for a total of about 100 billion rubles.

The areas in which these agreements were signed are completely different: agriculture, transport, tourism, manufacturing, and so on.

Speaking in detail about the agreements, I would like to note the agreement that was signed by the Yankovsky industrial park. This project is supported by the agency, is developing steadily and is very important for the region. Huge warehouse areas have already been created so that the region can effectively implement its specialization in the field of transport logistics.

Among other things, an important moment at the WEF was the signing of agreements with residents of the territories of advanced social and economic development "Nadezhdinskaya" and "Mikhailovskaya".
Another very interesting, in my opinion, direction is what is happening in the implementation of projects based on public-private partnerships. Within the framework of the EEF, an agreement was signed to establish a Nuclear Medicine Center and a wholesale distribution center.

Since public-private partnership projects are gaining strength and are of interest for the region, for us and for investors, the agency has expanded its structure since May this year. In addition to the marketing, legal departments and the investment projects department, we now have a public-private partnership projects department.

He has already gathered a certain base for such projects and began to assist in the implementation of some of them.

— In your opinion, will the number of mentioned projects in the field of public-private partnership grow in connection with the law on concessions?

- 115 The latest version of the Federal Law "On Concession Agreements" entered into force on May 1 this year. From January XNUMX, Federal Law No. 224-FZ "On public-private partnership, municipal-private partnership in the Russian Federation and amendments to certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation."

Thanks to the development of a regulatory framework, the conditions for the implementation of projects are becoming more understandable, transparent, and effective for potential participants in this project. Even before such changes were adopted, there were a lot of projects, and the interest in this form was significant. Now we have the best practices on projects, in particular, in the field of road construction, and they can also be solved through the use of the mechanism of public-private partnership, which, in general, is already being done in Russia.

What industry are investors most willing to enter now? Can you name the projects that are most popular?

- Investors go to different industries. These are, for example, construction, manufacturing, tourism, and solid waste processing. The Agency has a very large number of projects that are of interest to both Russian and foreign investors. Today, about 560 enterprises with foreign capital are already operating in the region, these are mainly enterprises from China, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

On May 22 of this year, the opening of a coal mine at the Adamsovskoye deposit in the Nadezhdinsky region took place. This event gave rise to the start of work on the implementation of the first stage of the project, which is being implemented jointly with the Huafeng company (China) and the Russian company Rubicon. We accompany this project. During the first five years, the Chinese partners will invest about US $ 90 million in the project, and the total volume of investments from both sides could be about US $ 450 million. Now this project is underway, and within the framework of the WEF, the leadership of Jilin Province, accompanied by the Investment Agency, traveled to this site. The parties were satisfied with the current work.

Another project that can be cited as an example is the construction of the Novy Gorod residential neighborhood, which is being implemented in Vladivostok in the Zelenyi Ugol area. An agreement of intent has already been signed for the implementation of this project, the parties are Jingu, New City, Investment Agency, Construction Subcommittee of the All-China Committee for the Promotion of International Trade. Now Jingu plans to conclude an agreement on the implementation of this investment project.

— Tell us how the selection of investors takes place, what is needed for an investor to participate in the proposed projects?

- The main question here is what the investor wants.

First, he can enter any project as a co-investor. This refers to both direct investment in the project and the supply of technologies and equipment necessary for the implementation of this project.

We have a list of investment projects that are planned for implementation in Primorye. We also formulate a plan for the creation of investment and infrastructure facilities, update it annually, monitor it on a quarterly basis and, if necessary, correct it (everyone can familiarize themselves with it on the investment portal of the Primorsky Territory). In such cases, the investor lists projects or economic activities that interest him, and we provide relevant information about those projects that we have, including the general economy on them. For example, cost, payback period, and so on. The investor analyzes the information and starts interaction with the initiators of those projects that turned out to be attractive and need co-financing.

The second option is that an investor, entering the region, may intend to carry out his project independently on the territory of the region, including in special zones. In this situation, it is necessary to prepare an investment application in the form of an agency and a business plan for the project. When the investor has submitted these documents, we can conduct an assessment. We also send the project for consideration to the executive authorities and municipalities, which, taking into account the development priorities of certain industries, give an opinion on the advisability of its implementation in the Primorsky Territory. As a rule, this happens quite quickly, we inform the investor about the results of considering a particular project. He, in turn, decides on the start of the project, and also determines what assistance is needed to start the project - land, administrative support, additional sources of funding, labor resources, or something else.

The third option is that the investor is already implementing a project in the Primorsky Territory and wants to receive any agency services, for example, assistance in obtaining government support provided for by various acts. Then he, too, can come to our Investment Agency, submit an investment application, and we will present a full set of possible support options, hold consultations, help prepare the necessary documents, and clarify procedural issues. Well, and after that, work with documents starts.

It also happens that an investor independently implements a project, he has funds, and he goes to the agency to receive information support. He wants to promote his project, take part in congress and exhibition events, travel somewhere together with us, participate in the work of collective exhibition stands. In this case, the investment application is also filled out with the attachment of the business plan of the project, and we include the project in the catalog of investment projects, post it on the website and inform the investor about all activities that may be of interest to him, taking into account the specifics of the project.

— Are there projects that may not be very profitable, but are politically, socially, strategically important for the region?

- Of course, we have such projects. In my opinion, the strategically important growth points of the region are the projects of the territories of advanced development and the Free Port of Vladivostok. These are precisely the pillars that should be the basis, the pillar of the region's development. An appropriate business environment will be formed around these territories. Small business, social sphere, housing and communal services, and all other spheres of activity of the region will develop.

They are certainly cost-effective due to the preferences and efforts that are invested in their creation, and if implemented correctly, they will certainly bring results.

In my opinion, the projects that we are implementing on the basis of public-private partnership are very important today. Especially in the field of housing and communal services, agriculture, health care. They affect the life of any person, any citizen in the region.

For example, returning to the agreements signed at the WEF, the Russian-Israeli joint venture Biotechmarket plans to take part in the creation of a wholesale distribution center. In this case, Primorye will become part of an interregional network of wholesale distribution centers for agricultural products. The project within the framework of the federal program creates certain instruments for regulating the agricultural market, and this is what allows to reduce costs and increase efficiency in this area as a whole. It is planned that this center will become a kind of industrial hub that will meet the needs of the region and will create a social catering infrastructure in the Primorsky Territory.

The wholesale distribution center will be divided into several zones: warehouse, production and trade. Warehouses will occupy about 60 percent of the entire area of ​​the center. These will be specially equipped rooms for storing vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and so on. The zones will be subdivided according to the possible commodity neighborhood. Primary processing and packaging of products will take place in the production area. The trade zone will be intended mainly for small-scale wholesale trade, where it will be possible to buy products at wholesale prices without retail margins and thus eliminate unnecessary intermediaries, which also leads to savings for all participants in the process. The wholesale distribution center will naturally give priority to local and domestic producers. In fact, such a structure is being created to support them.

There will be sanitary and veterinary control points, customs points, points where banking and insurance services will be provided. In total, the center will provide about 40 types of various services. Thus, we can reduce costs to 15 25 percent due to effective organization schemes.
Among other things, the wholesale distribution center will dramatically reduce product losses. Now, according to experts, they can be up to 20 30 percent due to simply unsuitable storage conditions, and this is a large figure.

Another project that I spoke about, but would like to dwell on in more detail, is the Nuclear Medicine Center. It will also be implemented on the basis of PPP principles and also has great social significance for the region. I cannot say that it is not profitable from an economic point of view, but it is also a very important social project. It will be implemented on the basis of the Far Eastern Federal University on Russky Island. The State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, Rusnano, the Primorsky Territory Administration and the FEFU signed a relevant memorandum on technological cooperation and the provision of medical and diagnostic services to the population within the framework of this medical center.

This center will use high-tech domestic medical equipment. The cost of, for example, a cyclotron is about 2 billion rubles, this is a huge amount, and it is unrealistic for some medical institution to acquire such equipment. By implementing such a project, we will be able to obtain such equipment and provide the population with high-tech medical services. About 12 thousand people will be able to receive medical care at the Nuclear Medicine Center annually. This, in general, is a rather large figure. High-tech medical care will be provided within the region, there will be no need to incur additional costs to travel to the central regions of the country or abroad.
The medical center will be engaged not only in medical practice, but also export knowledge and technology, since it is planned that specialists, including those from abroad, will be able to undergo training on domestic equipment installed in the center.

— Will the number of investors increase with the adoption of laws on ASEZs and the Free Port?

- Naturally. The Eastern Economic Forum has shown that all investors are interested in these economic zones.

Now our task, in addition to the formation of management companies, a pool of residents, construction of infrastructure, is to conduct large-scale educational work, talk a lot about it, and communicate information about the conditions in an accessible way. These are unique opportunities that not every region can provide.

— Are there any points in federal or regional legislation that need to be changed in order to increase investment attractiveness?

- Of course, we are trying to follow the path of positive changes. Work in this direction is being carried out quite intensively. Now the agency is studying the best practices in various fields, including in lawmaking. Based on the results of such monitoring, we periodically make proposals on amendments to various regulatory legal acts that exist in the territory of the region, taking into account the best practices that are applied in other regions. For example, now the Investment Agency has analyzed the legislation in the field of public-private partnership and has formed proposals to the Department of Economics and Entrepreneurship Development of the Primorsky Territory on amendments to the regional law on public-private partnership. This will make the law more understandable, transparent, effective, meaningful and will allow the regional law to be brought in line with the federal one.

In addition, there is such an aspect as the lack of measures of state support for industrial enterprises at the regional level. In contrast to the federal level, in Primorye, for example, a separate state program for the development of industry and increasing its competitiveness has not been approved. At the same time, enterprises are expressing interest in providing special tax benefits, property support measures, and the creation of infrastructure facilities necessary for the implementation of industrial projects. We are working in this direction now. In particular, a draft law of the Primorsky Territory on industrial policy in the region has been prepared, now it is under consideration in the regional Legislative Assembly. Hopefully, it will be reviewed and adopted soon, which will close the gap.

Another example is changing the investment threshold for regional tax incentives. Initially, the minimum bar in order to receive benefits on income tax and property tax was 150 million rubles. But, having studied the best practices, we saw that in fact, the minimum level of 150 million rubles in 3 years is too much, and as a result, it was proposed to reduce it from 150 to 50 million rubles.

Our legal department constantly monitors changes in legislation, including investment. And those changes that are made to federal laws, to regional laws concerning investment activities, are immediately recorded, they are reported to investors and agency employees.
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