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Freedom to the ports of Vladivostok

Porto-Franco is going to make the most comfortable for business

Freedom to the ports of Vladivostok

Vladivostok and a number of other municipal entities of Primorye plan to make the zone of the free port at least for 70 years. Its residents are supposed to be surrounded literally by state support, including to provide tax benefits, insurance at reduced tariffs and simplified importation of foreign workers. Analysts and market participants, on the whole, recognizing the need for accelerated development of coastal territories, fear how adequately and dosedly this idea will be implemented in practice.

Ports are free to be

The proposal to make Vladivostok a free port zone was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin a year ago in his annual message to the Federal Assembly. Initially, the idea to make the port of Vladivostok "free" belonged to the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East. This issue has been repeatedly discussed with the regional authorities and with business. A year later, the idea received a regulatory form.

Draft Federal Law "On the Free Port of Vladivostok" Published on a single portal of draft normative legal acts. With 3 on 18 March there was a public discussion of the document.

According to the bill, it is planned to include the territories of Artemovsky and Vladivostok city districts, Nadezhdinsky, Shkotovsky, and also Partizansky, Frontier and Khasansky districts to the boundaries of the free port of Vladivostok. It is assumed that upon the Government's decision, other territories of Primorye and the ports of the Far Eastern Federal District may enter the port-franco zone. At the same time, the Vladivostok Freeport will not include special economic zones, territorial development zones or the territory of advanced social and economic development. The draft law says that Vladivostok's free port is created for 70 years, this period can be extended.

According to the document, specialized territories will be created in port-franco: port, industrial, scientific-promotional and tourist-recreational. The location of infrastructure facilities in these territories is proposed to be financed from extrabudgetary sources, the regional budget and the municipal entity, as well as using various forms of public-private partnership.

To coordinate the activities of state authorities, assess the effectiveness of the functioning of the porto-free territory, and also to review and approve prospective plans for the development of the free port, monitor the implementation of these plans, it is planned to create a supervisory board of the free port of Vladivostok. Its structure should include the deputy chairman of the government of the Russian Federation coordinating the work of federal executive bodies on state policy in the field of integrated socio-economic development of the Far Eastern regions, the head of the authorized federal body, the governor of Primorye, representatives of other federal executive bodies. It is also assumed that employees of business and scientific organizations will be able to join the deliberative body.

Measures of state support for entrepreneurial and other activities on the territory of the free port of Vladivostok are divided into general and special ones. General include, in particular, the peculiarities of entry into the territory of Primorsky Krai and the departure of foreign citizens from abroad; The establishment of preferential rental rates for residents of a free port for the use of real estate objects owned by the management company; Priority connection of specialized territories to infrastructure facilities; Exemption of residents from paying taxes on property of organizations and land.

Special measures are applied depending on the types of specialized territories, types of economic activity, its nature and conditions of implementation. This is the granting of benefits to residents on federal taxes or a special tax regime, the application of reduced tariffs of insurance premiums, the customs procedure of a free customs zone.

If adopted, the law "On the Free Port of Vladivostok" will enter into force three months after the date of its official publication.

The Ministry is ready to hear all

Alexander Galushka, Minister for the Development of the Far East, called for the widest public and expert discussion of the draft law at the March 23 meeting in March. It is planned that the whole project team under the auspices of the ministry, which will include representatives of the regional and municipal authorities of Primorye, business representatives and professional experts, will bring the bill to completion.

According to the press service of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, various proposals to the text of the draft law were voiced at the meeting. The administration of Primorsky Territory received a request to increase the time of visa-free stay of foreign citizens on the territory of the free port to 120 hours from the previously proposed 72. In addition, it was proposed to legislatively determine the right of foreigners staying in the port area without a visa to use hotel services during this period.

The mayor of Vladivostok suggested creating opportunities for working in the free port zone of authoritative international medical clinics, as well as educational institutions. According to him, by deregulating the sphere of medical services and creating conditions for the arrival of qualified medical operators from the APR countries, it is possible to initiate a real breakthrough in the direction of creating a sector of high-tech and modern medical services according to world standards.

The topic of deregulation and debureaucratization became the keynote of the meeting. The assembled experts sounded ideas on the application in the territory of the free port of regulations and regulatory regimes of the most competitive countries. Experts expressed arguments in favor of applying a lightweight inspection regime for residents of the free port, including the possibility of completely abandoning scheduled inspections. On the part of the mayor's office of Vladivostok, there was a proposal to legislatively fix the deadlines for obtaining certain permits, for example, a construction permit.

The issue of applying preferential tax regimes was discussed separately. During the discussion, arguments were advanced in favor of applying a single tax in the zone of the free port. It was also proposed to legitimize the application of foreign educational standards and to accept diplomas of foreign universities in the zone of the free port regime.

Another important aspect heard at the meeting was the settlement of water area issues in the context of its inclusion in the free port zone.

At the same time, some experts from business at the meeting made proposals to allow the possibility of mass migration of foreign citizens to the new economic zone during the formation of a free port. In response, the head of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East emphasized that the unconditional priority in hiring is for the Far East and those Russians who want to work in the region. They will be attracted first of all for the jobs being created.

What is more important - the development of uniform standards and rules for the entire territory of the Russian Federation or the creation of local special zones? Doubting minister expressed his point of view. According to him, the creation of experimental sites is a new word in the development of the Russian economy. The main thing is to create the most favorable investment climate and competitiveness with the Asia-Pacific countries.

Well-forgotten new

Note that at the moment there is no such tax and customs format in Russia as a "free port" or "free port". At the same time, it is quite widespread in the world. Traditionally, it implies the possibility of duty-free import of goods. Thanks to this legal regime, such centers of international trade as Hong Kong or Singapore have appeared. However, Vladivostok also had a similar experience - it had the status of a free port practically from the day of its foundation - from 1862. This regime lasted until the beginning of the XNUMXth century and allowed Vladivostok to become one of the main seaports of Russia.

“Now this format is quite popular in China. And on the example of the port city of Shenzhen, once created as an alternative to Hong Kong, one can observe the effect that the introduction of a free port regime in Primorye can give, ”says economist Alexander Latkin. According to him, in just a couple of decades, Shenzhen from a fishing village with a population of 3 thousand people turned into a city with a population of 15 million inhabitants.

However, a really effective measure would be to extend such a regime not only to the port of Vladivostok, but to all the ports of the Primorsky Territory - including the ports of Vostochny and Zarubino, says Nadezhda Malysheva, Development Director of Portnews Agency. “The fact is that the port facilities in Vladivostok are limited by the city itself, and there is also a military base there,” she said. At the same time, both preferential customs regime and additional services can be provided in the ports, the expert says.

“History has proved to us that the open port regime for Vladivostok was only beneficial. The unique geopolitical position will allow us to significantly increase cargo turnover (what the ports actually earn for us is stevedoring), ”says Georgy Martynov, president of the Primorye Fisheries Association. He is confident that the current infrastructure makes it possible to significantly increase the volume of fish transshipment (if we do not take into account the conflict situations between the tenants of the quay walls with FSUE National Rybresurs) with dynamic shipment of bulk and liquid cargo, and not only general cargo. But the most important thing is to increase container traffic. “There will be a need for modernization - it will happen. This is an economic issue. On the whole, the idea is rather positive, ”concluded Martynov.

From projects to real support

However, experts and market participants have fears.

“Today this is a controversial issue for us,” notes Dmitry Legkiy, Advisor to the General Director of the Vladivostok Sea Fishing Port. According to him, entrepreneurs "do not yet fully understand how everything will be implemented." “There are two ports in Vladivostok now. The entire berthing area is occupied. Before the sanctions were imposed, we had a job. There was machinery, there were good indicators for export and import. Now, under the conditions of sanctions and with the depreciation of the ruble, the import of equipment has decreased. At the moment, there is export. Our economic development has slowed down, ”he says. According to Legkoy, now we need to move from global projects to real support for medium-sized businesses. Tax holidays and targeted preferences will have a greater effect on the development of the Far Eastern territories. If we implement the idea of ​​a free port, then we must remember that reducing the tax burden, facilitating customs regimes can lead to a decrease in revenues to the treasury. “In practice, you need to focus on the positive experiences of your Asian neighbors and be careful about details. This is where the devil is hidden, ”he said.

“For a number of completely objective reasons and circumstances, Vladivostok and the Primorsky Territory as a whole need accelerated economic development. Any reason or method for this should be seriously considered and, if possible, used. The free port regime is one of the well-known ways of developing port territories. However, it is not yet clear what and how exactly it is planned to develop in Vladivostok and in the south of Primorye through its use, ”says Anton Sukhorukikh, Deputy General Director of CJSC Yuzhmoryrbflot.

“Everything is poison and everything is medicine. The only question is the dose, ”the Sukhorukikhs quoted Paracelsus, explaining that it is not yet very clear what doses of freedom (and freedom for what) the ideologists of the free port of Vladivostok put into their recipe. “A classic free port, a territory devoid of customs, of course, is overkill. Small incentives for some taxes are a shortfall. There are a lot of such privileged territories, already promoted and tested, in Southeast Asia, ”he says.

In his opinion, it is necessary to find, firstly, an adequate idea, the development of which will be served by the free port regime, and secondly, the “golden mean” of benefits and preferences, so that the benefits from the functioning of this regime are to the state and to the people, and the region, and not just the owners of a number of businesses, primarily foreign ones.

What could become such a central idea? “I believe that this zone should be focused on three main areas: deep processing of Russian raw materials (oil, gas, coal, timber, fish, etc.) and export of finished products, production of components and industrial assembly of products for further sale in the Russian Federation and transit transshipment of goods of the Northern Sea Route and Transsib. So, for these areas, and it is necessary to build such a system of benefits, freedoms and preferences, so that it is most convenient and beneficial for all parties to do this in the south of Primorye, "Sukhorukikh believes.

As for the risks, there are, of course, many of them. But this is the point of business to take risks, in case of winning, making a profit, and in case of loss, incurring losses. “Where there are no risks, but there is a guaranteed income, it makes no sense for society to feed entrepreneurs. But, of course, these risks should be understandable and manageable, ”he concluded.

Current performance indicators

Transshipment in the ports of the Russian Far East at the end of 2014 increased by 12,3%, to 162,5 million tons. According to the Association of Commercial Sea Ports (ASOP), the largest increase was provided by dry cargo (+ 16,3%) and liquid cargo (+ 6,7%), the leaders were the ports of Vostochny (+ 19,7%), Nakhodka (+ 13% ) and Vanino (+ 10,4%), which traditionally rely on coal transshipment. The port of Vladivostok increased its cargo turnover to 15,3 million tons (+ 5,3%) and Posiet - to 6,7 million tons (+ 18,8%).

In the first months of this year, the ports continue to maintain positive dynamics. However, Vladivostok is still lagging behind.

The cargo turnover of the ports of the Far Eastern basin of the Russian Federation in January-February 2015 increased by 3,5% compared to the same period in 2014 to 25,34 million tons. Transshipment of dry cargo amounted to 3,6 million tons (-0,7%), liquid cargo - 11,74 million tons (+ 8,8%), according to the Association of Commercial Sea Ports of the Russian Federation.

During the reporting period, the port of Vostochny increased cargo handling by 12,3% to 9,9 million tons, Prigorodnoye - by 0,2% to 2,8 million tons, De-Kastri - 22,3% to 1,5 million tons. The decrease in cargo turnover in the port of Vladivostok amounted to 16,6% to 2 million tons, Nakhodka - 2,9% to 3,1 million tons, Vanino - 0,3% to 3,7 million tons. The share of cargo transshipment in the port of Vostochny is 38,9%, Vanino - 14,7% of the total volume.

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