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East vector

The development of Siberia and the Far East was the main topic of discussion at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum

East vector

At the largest in its history, the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum-2014 (more than 5000 participants from 33 countries and 71 Russian regions), 4 topics were identified as priority topics for discussion: entrepreneurial activity and new industries; increasing the efficiency of the social sphere; improving public administration; the formation of the eastern vector of the country's development - that is, the development of Siberia and the Far East. However, it was the last topic that became the connecting link between the others and, in fact, set the tone for discussions on the forum.

The President of the Russian Federation, who called the development of Siberia and the Far East a national priority of Russia for the entire XXI century, at the same time outlined the principles by which the territories of advanced development should be formed and operate. Progressive investment policy, flexible and loyal approach to business, creation of effective infrastructure ... But do these mechanisms work today - and not only for the eastern regions, but throughout the country?

Former Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation Alexei Kudrin, a participant of the KEF-2014, is sure that the Russian economy is now experiencing stagnation, and therefore it is too early to talk about the effectiveness of these levers. “As an economist, I will add that today our economy has run into weak institutions and an underdeveloped political system. This has become our real limitation. We now have a variable situation: moving forward, and standing or a step back. This is what characterizes the feedback between the authorities and society, which exists today ”. And a little earlier, at one of the CEF discussions, he called the main resource for effective public policy "improving the quality of public administration and the most severe responsibility for the implementation of decisions," and, above all, state programs.

In fact, it is the development of the eastern territories that should reverse the stagnant tendencies and become a catalyst for the development of the Russian economy as a whole - this idea ran through almost all the forum’s events.

Thus, in the plenary discussion "Territories of advanced development - the eastern express", the Minister of Regional Development of Russia Igor Slyunyaev called the growth drivers for the TOP and the whole Russian economy into investments and the refusal of excessive regulation of entrepreneurship, combining the investment opportunities of business and the state on the basis of public-private Partnership. "When evaluating projects in which large-scale budgetary investments are invested, the main criterion is their effectiveness," he said.

In this sense, for the Russian Far East, the closest neighbors of the Asia-Pacific region, which showed tremendous growth with an initial lack of resources, could serve as an example. In their case, such an approach worked: the investor becomes the main subject of economic development, and government regulation is already guided by it. According to Alexander Galushka, Minister for the Development of the Far East, this is precisely the way to create companies and entire industries that are globally competitive.

It would be worth paying attention to the experience of our eastern neighbors, connected with the creation of industrial parks. In Russia, 2013 technology parks operated in 36, and the share of their production was 0,5% of the manufacturing industry. For comparison: in China, such parks - more than 400. They provide 60% of exports, 46% of foreign investment, 22% of the country's gross product. "Industrial parks are a classic example of concentration of resources, which leads to the creation of jobs, demand for engineering, and the development of innovations," said Gleb Nikitin, First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

Now we are working on a state program to support Russian technology parks (and, first of all, on the territories of advanced development). According to it, up to 2020, 54 billion rubles will be allocated for these purposes (of which almost 2 billion - in 2014 year), and the result will be the creation of 205 parks for 260 thousand jobs. Their revenue, as expected, by 2020 will be more than 1 trillion rubles, and tax payments - 138 billion rubles a year.

The creation of industrial parks implies the development of modern, advanced industries. But what do you mean? Traditionally, here we mean high-tech enterprises (including processing ones). However, according to the governor of the Krasnoyarsk Territory Lev Kuznetsov, if it comes to Siberia and the Far East, "there is no need to fear a strong raw material component." In our regions, oil and gas production, energy, metallurgy, and forestry are traditionally strong, and serious investment projects have already been "ground" for them. And the more such "ready" investment projects will be in Siberia and the Far East, the more opportunities for industrial breakthrough will be in these regions, Kuznetsov is sure.

For all that, Far Eastern investments now amount to only 6% of Russian investments. And this is catastrophically small. The result is the same: stagnation in the economy, outflow of population, unemployment ... The way out experts see in massive attraction to the regions of private investments, including foreign ones.

“The most resource-rich countries have often actively developed through private initiative. Multi-billion investments are needed for the development of Eastern Siberia. Need less bans for the construction of pipelines and deposits. Siberia should be more open, ”said Vladislav Inozemtsev, director of the Center for Post-Industrial Society Research. “It will be useful for us to cooperate with the countries of the Pacific basin that are successfully introducing their new technologies, such as Japan and South Korea, as well as with countries with extensive experience in developing territories economically similar to Siberia, such as the United States and Canada.”

What is needed for strong investors to come to the Far East and Siberia? To begin with - a clear tax policy in our country. Its improvement and efficiency also became the subject of discussion at the forum. While the situation is far from ideal. Now Russia is in the ranking of tax practice in the international ranking of the World Bank Doing Business ranks 56-e (2 a year ago was 105-e). The result, frankly, is not brilliant - hence many other problems.

"The outflow of capital, the lack of investment and modernization, aging fixed assets - all this suggests that the tax policy does not meet the needs of the economy. We call for treating it not as a system that is fixed for the next three-year period, it should respond to changes in a timely manner and be fine-tuned, "Sergei Belyakov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, told the CEF.

Actually, this is the creation of an effective and stable tax system, support for investments, development of human capital, and increased entrepreneurial activity - and is now the country's priority in the tax sphere, said Ilya Trunin, director of the tax and customs tariff policy department at the Russian Finance Ministry. Another direction of the work of the Ministry of Finance was indicated in its Message by the President of the Russian Federation - this is the de-fshorization of the Russian economy. Here it is necessary to arrange the receipt of information from foreign tax authorities, and for this - to ratify already in 2014 the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

And another, according to experts, "driver" of the development of the Russian economy - the transport system of the eastern regions. "This is dictated by objective factors," said Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov at the forum. "These territories are a natural transport bridge between Europe and the countries of East Asia, which have long been the locomotive of the world economy."

Of particular interest now are the markets of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, hence the need for the development of the so-called "Eastern landfill" - the Baikal-Amur and Trans-Siberian highways. The volume of traffic in the Eastern region is consistently high, but in the coming years, according to the minister, it should still grow - and primarily thanks to projects for the extraction of minerals: by 2020, only this type of cargo traffic will amount to approximately 113 million tons. We are talking about deliveries, both from existing fields, and from pending developments. The main increase should be given to coal deposits - Elginskoye (Yakutia), Elegest (Tuva); Iron ore - the Kimkan-Sutarskoye (Jewish autonomous region), the Taiga (Yakutia); As well as polymetallic - Bystrinskoe and Bugdainskoye (Transbaikalia). Among other things, the modernization of transport infrastructure in the east of the country will create about 40 thousand new jobs.

However, it is, of course, not only railway transport. Its development should be accompanied by an increase in the loading capacity of seaports. Over the past 6 years, these capacities have doubled, and now construction of new transshipment complexes is underway, which will add work to Far Eastern ports - for example, at Cape Petrovsky (17 million tons of coal and 3 million tons of iron ore per year) and in the port of Vanino (to 24 million tons of coal per year).

But here, as it turned out, not without problems. Railway workers, Alexander Misharin, first vice-president of JSC Russian Railways, said at the discussion, are ready to modernize the eastern highways. But will there be a demand for increased freight traffic? For example, energy - the main consumers of coal - are not ready to identify their needs even for the near future. And, in turn, they say about the uncertainty of the order from the side of the business: different kinds of production projects seem to be outlined, but the terms for their implementation (and sometimes the realism of the plans) are in question ...

In general, the problems are indicated, the proposals are heard, the working materials of the KEF (and during its work, 45 panel discussions, round tables, and open discussions were held) were collected. The government of the Russian Federation should prepare methodical recommendations on the creation of priority development areas by June. 

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