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"You can only believe in Russia. And China needs to know "
Andrey OstrovskyDeputy Director of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of the RAS
- Andrey Vladimirovich, we say "Far East" - we mean another slogan. Breakthrough, priority, competitiveness ... But does such "halva" make at least someone sweeter? All the same, after loud statements of officials, these regions will not get closer, the roads will not lay there themselves, people will not change their minds to leave? ..
- Yes, about "halva" - Khoja Nasreddin's favorite anecdote. No matter how hard this word is, the truth will not become sweeter in your mouth. But I would not be so pessimistic about the benefits of slogans. I can answer with a quote from the now unpopular Karl Marx: "An idea becomes a material force when it takes over the masses." If what is being said now from very high tribunes really finds a response and concrete embodiment, we can hope for changes for the better. But so far, unfortunately, from the experience of my repeated trips to the Far East, I can state: ideas have not taken hold of the masses. People there do not really hope for Moscow. They say: “There is a lot of talk, very little work. A lot of decisions are made, but almost nothing reaches us. " And this is the main problem that now torments the inhabitants of a huge region - from Irkutsk to Vladivostok. Despite the fact that, it would seem, Primorye is a sin to complain after the APEC forum and the funds that were invested in the development of the region before this event ...
- For some reason, it is considered that the main thing is to allocate money. And if they are "buried in the ground," everything will immediately sprout and self-solve ...
The Chinese acted differently and came to the point "point-by-point". By order of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress - the supreme body of government similar to our Duma - in 1980, China created four free economic zones - three in Guangdong (Zhuhai, Shenzhen and Shantou) and one in Fujian (Xiamen) . All of them except Shantou were very well located: Zhuhai near Macau, Shenzhen - next to Hong Kong, Xiamen - near Taiwan, through the Taiwan Strait. Zones were created in a very small area, but received significant benefits that contributed to economic growth. It was assumed that both internal and external investments would be attracted to these zones. That is why a large amount of money was allocated from the state budget to create a developed infrastructure there. It is clear that investors in such facilities are not interested in investing money, they will pay off for too long, and the state should take on such expenses.
- And when did it become possible to talk about returns from the SEZ in China?
- Specific socio-economic results have become visible for years through 7-8. After the adoption of the law, the zones began to develop rapidly and, like locomotives, dragged first the coastal areas, then the entire coast and, finally, China as a whole. In many respects, based on the experience of the first SEZ, a number of decisions were adopted that determined the country's socio-economic growth, increased people's incomes, stimulation of private entrepreneurship, and so on. And not everything went smoothly. So, there is the Shenzhen zone, which developed very well, and in the other - Shantou - special results were not obtained. But in any case, the reform started in these zones, gradually went deeper. The zones of technical-economic and scientific-technical development were already being created, and in 1995 the city of the central subordination of Chongqing (previously located in Sichuan province) was created, which also began to develop and received its benefits. Moreover: in 1992 year after the famous trip of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping "to the south" (that is, just in Shenzhen), in fact, a new stage of rapid development of reforms in this country began.
- This then Deng Xiaoping said his famous aphorism "no matter what color a cat is, the main thing is that it catches mice"?
- No, he said this much earlier, even when the Third Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPC 11-th convocation took a decision on the so-called "house contract". But here in essence it was the same: it does not matter which economic model is used in a particular case. The main emphasis is on results.
By the way, I had the opportunity to see with my own eyes not only the results, but also with what it all began. In Shenzhen I managed to visit 1985 year. Then it was a small fishing village - thousands of 70 population, by Chinese standards, a desolate outback. Its only advantage was the proximity to the border with Hong Kong. But when I got there, he reminded me very much of BAM or something like that - around construction, construction, construction ... I went into one of the canteen-eating rooms, also similar to BAM. At the cash register sat a girl, and I talked to her while I was swallowing my huge plate of noodles. "Where are you from?" I ask. "From Shanghai." But Shanghai is, you could say, the economic capital of China. "And why did you come here from such a city?". "It's lively here, there are prospects here ...", she answered without a shadow of a doubt.
- Then what is missing for our Far Eastern villages so that they too learned to "catch mice" and build their Shenzhen?
"Let me remind you of an episode from history." In 1990, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev proclaimed the next plan: our Far Eastern Nakhodka, he said, should become the future Hong Kong! The idea was picked up, there was even a "Vzglyad" show with Lyubimov and Listiev, some interviews, beautiful shootings. But since then it has been already 24 years, and so far, something Hong Kong in Nakhodka, to be honest, can not be seen. Moreover, in the middle of the 1990, when I got there, it turned out that even fish in local restaurants do not - it was easier to order a beefsteak ... And here are two cities in the scale of the countries quite comparable: Shenzhen and the long-suffering Nakhodka. What helped development in one case and prevented in another?
In the Chinese economic zones, a system of preferences was established - both taxation, in terms of access to raw materials, and in attracting foreign capital (for example, the principle of profit repatriation operated: investors who invested in this zone and did not withdraw capital abroad could count On the expansion of benefits up to almost zero tax rates), and so on. Thus, the enterprises were interested in coming to this zone and working through it for as long as possible. And the state invested in the creation of infrastructure for this.
By the way, it's far from "all". If we compare the starting positions, then Nakhodka was in comparison with 70-thousandth Shenzhen even in a more advantageous position. Already in 1980-ies it was a large port, a city with a lot of enterprises ... Now time is lost, opportunities too. Neither the level of development of science nor the state of technology Shenzhen Nahodka not catch up. As well as we could compare our reforms with the Chinese, only at the beginning of the 1990-ies, but not now.
- That is, there is no point in hoping for a repeat of the "Chinese economic miracle" in Russia?
- Why? To do this, it was necessary to use the Chinese models of reform. But ... Here is a typical example from my own practice. In August of the year 1993 I wrote a long article in Rossiyskaya Gazeta. For about a month, she passed a huge number of approvals, editing ... even in the "Pravda" of Soviet times, the procedure was less complicated. The date for the publication of the article was already scheduled, I signed the layout - but on the appointed day I found nothing on the newspaper page. Began to find out. It turns out that some great boss was tempted to show my humble work to Yegor Gaidar himself. And he inscribed a resolution on the article - they say, there is no sense in publishing materials about the Chinese experience, because we have an "ideologically different country". However, after a short time, and then the editor of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Loginova, was removed from work. Apparently, ideology changed along with the bends of state policy very quickly - as they say, "a snake can break a ridge if it crawls along the general line of the party". So you see for yourself, coming back to the beginning of our conversation, how difficult it is for any ideas to "get hold of the masses", and even the tops. Especially when it comes to China and its positive experience.
- Russia, as the classic wrote, can not understand the mind and can not measure the common yardstick. In Russia you can only believe ... But what about China?
"What's so dangerous about him?" Maybe, for doubt, there is still soil?
- Business is not so scary. On one condition: if he has enough information. But in this case, there is a Russian proverb "without knowing the ford, do not poke your nose in the water." China is a big, complex country; Our people do not know her language, laws, the state of the economy, or the level of science and technology. It is frightening to the unknown, because for us this huge country is still “a monster oblo, huge, mischievous, stozevno and layay”. That's right, in Church Slavonic, without trying to get closer to modern reality. Even the names of Chinese leaders, except Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaoping, the average Russian is unlikely to be able to recall on the go. On the more important subtleties can not even talk. By the way, I can always distinguish who talks about China - a specialist or not. The difference is visible a mile away. Not a Sinologist begins to tell you what stock prices are in China, the state of the stock market, how the real estate market is inflated, and what happens on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Naturally, this is all there, but people do not take into account the fact that the Chinese stock market is not the whole Chinese economy. There are more than 600 millions of peasants living in this country who probably don’t even know the word “stock exchange”. They have nothing to do there. They look at the sky and estimate what the harvest will be this year. And there is a harvest. For the past year, for the first time in the history of China, China “broke through the ceiling” and exceeded the 600 million tonnes per year crop. Productivity is growing steadily. But when I first came to China almost 30 years ago, they still had grain and food ration cards, and the harvest was about 280 million tons. Although the population was, I note, almost half. But now there are no cards, and the country as a whole has become significantly richer. And rice has ceased to be the "main food." In general, China is a country where they eat a lot ...
"But they obviously work as well ..."
- Of course. When you get to China, it's always noticeable: people are always at work, everyone is busy with something. The fields are well-groomed, in them necessarily someone works.
- And what is the reason for such diligence - national mentality or communist ideology?
- Common sense. In China, people perfectly understand that if they do not work, they will simply starve to death. And they work from dawn to dusk. On the rice field, for example, you must go out early in the morning, otherwise you will not grow anything. Nevertheless, they harvest two or three crops a year ...
- If the Chinese are so sensible, then what arguments can convince them to come as partners and investors in Russia? And can Russia really, as officials say, become “competitive” in the Asia-Pacific markets?
They could well come to us as investors. But all again rests on infrastructure problems. For example, go to any of our Far Eastern ports, but at least to Nakhodka, a Chinese container ship. How much time will it be unloaded plus how many these containers will stand on the pier in anticipation of shipment by rail, what costs will it take? And so in everything. The Chinese are generally ready to buy gas from us. But not at prices that Gazprom is not going to lower, but at the same cost as in Turkmenistan, not 400 dollars per ton, but a maximum of 280. There is always an opportunity to agree - for example, with China, it seems to me that we could very well agree on the issue, and in exchange for lowering the price of the gas supplied, ask for any preferences in their territory (for example, when developing oil on the East China shelf). and the South China Sea, use the port of Dalian to re-export our oil products to the countries of Southeast Asia and so on). There are options for cooperation in the field of electricity. China is actively looking for alternative energy sources, building new ultra-high voltage power lines at 2-3 thousands of kilometers to reduce losses. The lack of energy in this country is quite serious. Two thirds of energy consumption falls on coal, in some cities there is simply nothing to breathe. Natural gas fields are concentrated in western China, it is necessary to build gas pipelines to the eastern regions (China produces annually 107 billion cubic meters of gas, three quarters of which are in the province of Shaanxi, this is Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region). The capacity of the existing "pipe" is not enough - although when it was built, many said that it would "transport air" through it. Such development can open up opportunities for us ... if we are purposefully engaged in this and able to negotiate. While our state-owned companies do not show activity. True, there is hope that after the May visit of Vladimir Putin something will move for the better and contacts will be activated.
But we must understand that China needs us today more than we need it. He has alternatives. He gets gas from Turkmenistan and Myanmar and even buys liquefied natural gas in Australia and Qatar - for $ 800 per thousand cubic meters. Why is it expensive? They supply them with Hong Kong and they sell it for $ 1200 ... When they say whether Russia can compete in China in the countries of South-East Asia, it is worth recalling that China's trade with the ASEAN countries in the past year amounted to about 400 billion dollars , And in Russia - God grant, if $ 1-2 billion from each of the countries in the best case. Our main partner in this region is Vietnam, but with it the foreign trade turnover reaches about $ 4 billion annually.
- Are there any expert assessments of our prospects and the investments necessary for this? Have you recently appealed to the experts of your institute as experts in developing programs for the development of the Far East?
"Not lately." Generally, experts always find it easy to count money, but scientifically based forecasts are another matter. But I will refrain in this case from discussions. I will only remind you that the Russian Academy of Sciences (which includes our institute) also prepared an analytical report for the Baikal 2011 Forum, which examined three possible scenarios for the development of the Far Eastern region. The first is bad - "From inertia to stagnation." According to him, economic growth could be no more than 4-5% per annum, and the aggregate gross regional product (GRP) to 2030 would be 386 billion dollars. With a total investment of 20 years - only 360 billion dollars. The second option "Falling into the abyss" was even worse: growth of less than 4-5% per year, aggregate GRP - 218 billion dollars (key figure - 18 thousand dollars per year per person), total investment for 20 years - 280 billion. A promising version was developed, which our working group headed by Academician Andrei Kokoshin called: "New Opportunities." It was he who could ensure the development of Russia and its Far East. This scenario assumed average annual growth rates from 8 to 9%, which would satisfy all. By 2030, the aggregate GRP in this case would have reached 806 billion dollars, per capita GRP, gross regional product - 48 thousand dollars per capita. Total investment in new projects of 570 billion dollars could provide the optimal pace of development. Naturally, we are talking about investments of three types - public, private and foreign. Ideally, half of the invested funds should come from Russian private investors. As for the state, according to the scenario "From inertia to stagnation", it would have to take 35% of capital investments, while "Falling into the abyss" - 25%, and in the option "New opportunities" - 28%. That is, it was about 160 billion dollars of state investments before 2030 year.
- If you compare your scripts with the recently adopted programs for the development of the Far East to 2020 year, is there a similarity?
- In these programs, in my opinion, there are too many bottlenecks, contradictions and ambiguities. I'm afraid that when they were drafted, "the right hand did not know what the left was doing." For today, there are no substantiated scientific developments concerning the development strategy of the Russian Far East, in my opinion, is not represented.
At the same time, the products of our machine-building industry can be quite export-oriented - there have been many such enterprises since the Soviet times in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories. Aviation plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, production of submarines in Ussuriysk, Khabarovsk shipbuilding yards ... Until the beginning of 2000-ies, we supplied electric locomotives to Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky to China, but unfortunately the enterprise was closed after privatization. Now there are projects for joint construction of Superjet aircraft and much more. With a competent organization of the matter, with powerful investments in infrastructure and modernization of such enterprises, we have a chance not to confine ourselves in our foreign trade to only non-Trungrin coals or Mirniy diamonds. So far, Russia is basically construction and trade, as well as the protection of these construction sites and trading floors. We need to create business conditions for work, and then we can really count on a "breakthrough" and "growth." No other way. The "Chinese miracle" also happened not with "God's craft", but with the help of accurate economic calculations and a thoughtful state policy.
- If we talk not only about China, then with which countries of the Asia-Pacific region and in what areas cooperation can be the most fruitful?
- With Vietnam. We have a huge serious project "Vietsovpetro", which gives a fairly large part of the income to the state budget through joint oil production on the shelf of the South China Sea. These areas should be actively developed. At one time it was supposed to be rolled up, the Vietnamese side insisted on continuing contacts, and now the process of renegotiation of the contracts is underway and the cooperation is visibly enlivened.
"We have very modest trade with Japan. And now, when Japan joined the Western sanctions, this will not affect anything. As if we had declared a boycott to the Republic of Vanuatu, and she to us. Clean diplomacy, without economic consequences.
- But diplomacy, too, can not be dismissed. Do you think there is a risk that one day, like in an old joke, "everything will be quiet on the Finnish-Chinese border, and vodka will cost 100 Yuan"? The older generation remembers the conflict in Damansky, the current one - the territorial disputes of recent years ...
- The joke dates back to the times of the “cultural revolution”. And it seems to me that in this case Russia needs to decide for itself who is a partner for it and who is an opponent. The collapse of the Soviet Union was largely due to the fact that we were forced to wage war on two fronts: the arms race with NATO countries was going on and from about 1960 after the so-called ping-pong diplomacy, the visit of Kissinger, the signing of the Shanghai communique in 1972, relations with China dramatically escalated. The events on the Damanskiy 1969 of the year are the consequences of the policy of Khrushchev, who refused to sign agreements already concluded on the Russian-Chinese border along the Amur and Ussuri rivers in the autumn of 1964. Now the territorial dispute over the islands Tarabarova, the Bolshoi Ussuriysky and the Kazakevich channels has been resolved, all documents have been signed. And this is a sensible decision. We need to be friends with China. There is a good Chinese proverb: "The nearest neighbor is better than a distant relative," and it is worth remembering. It depends only on us, the neighbor will help us in a difficult moment - or, figuratively speaking, will throw a rat into our soup. I think the culinary recipes for our diplomatic, economic and any other "cuisine" can be found even better.