Russia’s Regions and the EurAsEC Common Market: Production Chains
The common market of the five EurAsEC member states offers a key advantage a single economic space for the creation of production chains between the regions of the different countries. Integration into global value chains, however, requires the implementation of an ambitious common industrial policy, aimed at developing priority sectors by making use of advanced technologies and the human capital of the EurAsEC member states. The ability of goods bearing a «Made in the EurAsEC» mark to effectively compete internationally could and should be a key factor determining success. What potential is there for developing value chains within the EurAsEC? What support tools are already in place in the EurAsEC, and how effective are they? How can a common industrial policy be achieved? Which goods and enterprises are already meeting global competitiveness requirements and have the potential to act as «engines», driving the EurAsECs success in the international market?
Developing the Territories: Modern Approaches to the Human Environment
The strategic task of the state is to improve the affordability of housing while ensuring the development of a comfortable and high-quality urban environment. As the potential for infill development is very limited, priority should be given to the development of built-up and unused sites, particularly industrial zones being used inappropriately, and inefficiently run state-owned land plots. To ensure integrated territorial development, it is necessary to develop and implement uniform standards for the development and improvement of residential areas and the creation of well-planned infrastructure. This means using innovative approaches and modern technology-led urban development solutions, including best international practices. Under what circumstances will integrated development projects be of interest to business? What are the criteria for choosing the various mechanisms for the implementation of such projects? Should urban amenity and environmental quality standards be established for each region? Is existing urban planning legislation effective? What is the future of industrial zones? Which global best practices could provide an example to follow?
Between Scylla and Charybdis: State Supervision and Oversight Reform – Balancing Business Freedom and Civic Prosperity
A regions investment climate and business prosperity depend to a large degree on the quality of its licensing, supervisory, and oversight activities. Is it possible to create an ideal system of state supervision? What progressive trends have been seen in state supervision in the twenty-first century? Can a balance be found between government supervision and civic oversight? To what extent are the monitoring and oversight reforms being introduced in different countries universal? What lessons can and should be scaled, and what practices should be treated with caution?
The Cost of Economic Restrictions: Successes and Future Prospects of an ‘About-Face’
The upgrade of key industrial assets and devaluation of the national currency have created favourable conditions for developing domestic production. In the current circumstances, the prospect that sanctions could be alleviated or even fully removed demands a search for new approaches to Russias economic development. The potential increase of Western investors in the Russian market could well place an additional burden on local manufacturers. How can the Russian economy remain competitive if protectionist measures are removed? How can potential new realities be reconciled with the current benchmarks of the Russian economy? How likely is an increase in investment from Europe and Northern America in the event of an end to external disputes?
The Export Potential of the Regions: from Discovery to Reality
The regions of the Russian Federation lack uniform standards and a universal package of tools with which to support exporters. At the same time, there are success stories that demonstrate the effectiveness of a pro-export approach to regional development. What is the export potential of the various Russian regions? What goods are currently being exported by regional companies? What financial and non-financial support tools are available to regional export-oriented companies? What role do the administrations of Russias regions play in supporting Russian exporters?
The National Enterprise Initiative: Continuing Progress
Four years ago, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives launched the National Enterprise Initiative (NEI), which aims to radically improve conditions for doing business in Russia. For the first time in Russias history, entrepreneurs began to work with state bodies and the expert community to develop road maps (action plans for improving the business climate in Russia). Thanks largely to the implementation of these road maps, Russia soared from 120th to 51st place in the World Banks ease of doing business index. How much simpler is it to do business now? Have the adopted laws been implemented effectively? What types of monitoring tools should be employed to assess project performance? What recent progress has been made with the project, and what still remains to be done?
The Ministry of Energy of Russia has issued a draft bill outlining a target model for the thermal energy market. The bill proposes changes to the system for regulating prices and economic relationships on the thermal energy market. Its aim is to reduce administrative pressures on business and to create economic incentives to improve the lamentable current state of the centralized heating supply system. Firstly, the role of the Single Heat Supply Organization (ETO) is set to change. The organization will become not only the sole purchaser and supplier of thermal energy within its area of activity, but also a centralized focus of accountability for the heat supply system with respect to both consumers and the government. To deliver on this task, the ETO has taken full responsibility for optimizing and developing the heat supply system as well as for improving its relationship with customers. Government authorities are monitoring the ETOs efforts. The new market model proposes a switch from government regulation of all tariffs to contract prices on thermal energy. In order to protect the interests of end users, the price will be capped at the estimated heat cost from an alternative source local boilers. The target model for thermal energy markets outlined in the above bill will be phased in gradually, allowing for the individual needs of regional and local thermal supply markets to be met. The transition will be implemented in cooperation with regional and local authorities at the level of the individual settlements and urban districts classed into specific price zones. It is expected that the new thermal energy market model will provide a stimulus for increased efficiency in heat production and bolster efforts to attract investment in the reconstruction of Russias outdated thermal supply system.
Russia–Germany: New Forms of Cooperation in a Crisis
Germany remains Russias most important trading partner, having consistently figured in the top three countries in terms of trade with Russia, despite the decline in trade turnover between the two countries to USD 45.8 billion in 2015. Overcoming external differences is key to developing the bilateral relationship. A number of institutional initiatives are under way, aimed at strengthening dialogue and stabilizing the rules of the game. These include special investment contracts and the Agency for Technology Transfer. The business community has kick-started business platforms designed to overcome existing economic issues and barriers. The revival of the RussianGerman strategic working group was an important milestone. What new forms of mutually beneficial cooperation could be useful in restoring trade to its former level? How can the potential and efficiency of existing tools be unlocked? How can trade and economic ties be maintained without losing trust?
The PPP Law a Year on: Results, Challenges, Problems
When new opportunities present themselves, a clear plan of action is required to make use of them. The implementation of public-private partnership (PPP) projects in Russias regions following the new legislation on PPP is no exception to this rule. What concrete steps should regional business take to participate in projects to develop regional and local infrastructure? What kinds of infrastructure are the most attractive where state expenditure has to be minimized (or excluded altogether)? How exactly can these projects be initiated: what is required of regional authorities and local business?
In recent years, hundreds of new industries and businesses have been created in Russia. Small and medium-sized businesses respond more sensitively to economic changes. They also adapt more rapidly to new economic conditions and changing consumer demands. It is precisely small and medium-sized businesses that are the first to occupy emerging market niches. Using the example of production units set up over the last three years in Russia, businessmen will discuss aspects of developing business. What tasks are faced when launching a new production unit? What do small and medium-sized businesses see as an opportunity for qualitative growth of their presence in the market? How can the potential for operating in foreign markets be realized?
Transforming Public Administration: How Can Big Data Improve Quality?
Our ever-growing ability to handle large amounts of data is leading to fundamental changes in business processes and the business environment. How do experts assess the value of big data in public administration? Where should an organization start when making the move to next-level technologies? How could the use of big data in decision-making improve public administration? Can the use of big data be scaled for the regions? Can hackathon initiatives contribute towards an improvement in public administration?
Cybercrime is a Key Threat to World Economic Growth. Is Russia Prepared to Face New Challenges?
The world has been changing, technological progress has been accelerating general advancement and creating new markets. Living standards can grow for most people thanks to these positive developments. Total digitalization and other tech breakthroughs have been forcing companies to change traditional practices and approaches to doing business. Change has been affecting all sectors of economies, and the speed of adaptation has been turning into a swinging factor for the survival of businesses. Unfortunately, the criminal community has been adapting to technological advancements just as quickly. Modern cyber attacks have been increasingly targeted, automated and simple in execution, while hacker communities have been turning increasingly diversified and globalized. The losses for the world economy from cybercriminal activities topped USD 500 billion, and, according to some experts, might reach USD 2 trillion by 2019 without much vigorous response. To fight cybercrime, united efforts are required on the part of public institutions, financial and corporate sectors. Some moves have been already afoot in Russia. A number of far reaching decisions were adopted at a Sberbank-hosted meeting led by the Chairman of the Russian Government Dmitri Medvedev on 3 June 2016, tasks were given to prepare a project with the aim of creating a unified system of countering information security threats in the financial industry of Russia.
Thirty-four special economic zones (SEZs) have been established in Russia to attract Russian and foreign direct investment to Russias regions in the high-tech sectors, including in production as part of the import substitution effort, shipbuilding, and tourism. Are SEZs deserving of the state resources which have been spent? How many investors have invested in SEZs? What should be done to increase this figure? How can the system be made to work to its fullest potential?
Greater Eurasia: Tapping the Region’s Growth Potential
Sustainable economic growth in the five countries that constitute the Eurasian Economic Union is largely determined by the success of their common trade policy. The centrepiece of this is the creation of joint foreign economic targets within the EurAsEC agenda, as subsequently reflected in policy documents, Eurasian Union decisions, and agreements with foreign partners. In what areas do we have common economic interests? What targets should be addressed by the EurAsECs common trade policy in support of an export-oriented economy? How effective have existing joint projects been in encouraging mutual economic growth? Could a leading economic position help the EurAsEC make the concept of Greater Eurasia a reality?
Technology Transfer as a Tool for Increasing Investment Attractiveness in Business
The practice of import substitution and production localization shows that, within certain sectors, Russian goods are capable of competing with their global counterparts. However, Russian businesses are slow to adopt cutting-edge technologies. As a result, their effectiveness is significantly reduced compared to that of foreign competitors, something which is especially true of small and medium-sized businesses. The transfer of modern technologies through foreign direct investment is limited by many factors, including the risks that foreign investors currently associate with Russia. The task of the Agency for Technological Development, established in May 2016, is to provide support to Russian businesses in securing technology-led development in line with global trends and the requirements of both national economic development as a whole and of those individual enterprises in particular. In which sectors can Russian goods be competitive? What is the role of the Agency for Technological Development in the technological development of regional enterprise? What tools is it able to offer?
Russia’s Regions and SMEs: the Tools Are in Place, What Are the Results?
The Russian Federation is creating a plethora of support tools at various levels for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Each region has its own methods for increasing its share of SMEs. What do these tools look like from a business perspective? Are they having a positive effect? How does business rate this support? Are new institutions really necessary, or should we rather stick to a do not disturb policy? What role does small enterprise play in a regions economic growth? What is the potential for duplication and blind adoption of regional and municipal best practice?
There is ample opportunity for Russia to develop its tourism industry; however the potential for domestic tourism services is still far from being fully exploited. The highly competitive nature of the global tourism market calls for the creation of a maximally attractive, comprehensive approach to increasing the countrys competitiveness as a tourist destination. This requires maintaining a balance between the interests of the state, business, and local residents in tourist areas. What is holding the domestic tourism industry back today? What are the needs and expectations of tourists? What initial steps need to be taken to improve the competitiveness of domestic tourism offers? What is the growth potential for spa tourism in Russia and how could it contribute to solving the other challenges identified?
Genius Loci: Effective Local Management and the Balance of Federal, Regional, and Municipal Administration
The region is the basic unit of economic growth. The municipality is the key area which determines quality of life. What adjustments would enable the federal centre, the regions, and the municipalities to work together to solve urgent socioeconomic challenges? How can we ensure that the voices of those living in these areas are heard? How can we best distribute resources and responsibilities? What kind of flexible state and municipal administration models are available?