Joint Meeting of Russia–Korea and Korea–Russia Business and Investment Councils
Political and economic cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea is on an unprecedented rise. The Moon Jae-in Administration has set KoreaRussia relations as one of its key priorities, resulting in the Nine Bridges towards Cooperation initiative. How the private sector could be involved in the «Nine Bridges» initiative implementation? Which sectors could become locomotives for boosting bilateral trade and investment? What role might SMEs assume in this process?
Redefining Education for the Global Workforce of Tomorrow
As the global economy rapidly evolves, driven by disruptive technologies, education systems face hitherto unseen challenges. Today, the interdependence of man and machine has blurred the lines between the digital, physical, and biological spheres. And while technologies give rise to innovations, they do not promise progress per se. The spread of artificial intelligence and machine learning could leave millions of people unemployed, and disrupt existing social and economic patterns. As a result, the younger generation is at risk of entering a marketplace where the skills gap is worse than at any time before in history. While public and private investments in education aim to improve human capital, new and better approaches to teaching are also needed to provide the skills required to develop the workforce of the future. What is being done to prepare subsequent generations for an uncertain and volatile future? Are current education systems teaching the skills required to close the skills gap in an automated world? What would prompt governments to reconsider the value of education?
In 2018, decisions were taken to create a financial centre and special administrative district (offshore) on Russky Island. Both of these decisions are aimed at ensuring that Russia can offer the globally competitive conditions needed to attract and retain capital, and that its financial market and financial technologies incorporate the latest developments. What new solutions for developing Russias financial market will be implemented in the Vladivostok Free Port financial centre? What conditions are needed to attract international credit organizations to Russia? What is needed in order to create and develop a cryptocurrency exchange? How competitive are CAP regimes when it comes to protecting capital?
Improving Legislation on Geological Prospecting: Subsoil Users Speak
The majority of deposits currently being developed in the Russian Far East were opened and surveyed during the Soviet period. In order to support the future development of the mining sector in the Far East, it is essential to develop its resource potential to the fullest extent possible, and this should be facilitated by geological exploration. Expenditure on geological survey work on the Russian Far Easts mineral resource base rose by 30% in 2017, reaching around RUB 6 billion, with plans to allocate around RUB 16 billion over the 20172020 period. Although these sums are significant, in order to fully exploit the resource potential of the region and make the most practical use of its subsoil, the Russian Far East requires a more active investment strategy for the development of geological exploration. What concrete steps must be taken to increase survey coverage of the Russian Far East? What global best practices (from Canada, Australia, the USA, and South Africa) can be used in projects in the Far East? What model for junior companies is the most attractive for the Russian market?
Port Infrastructure: New Opportunities for Investors
Cargo turnover at sea ports in the Russian Far East doubled between 2009 and 2017, demonstrating rapid growth in comparison with figures for the Russian Federation as a whole. In 2017, cargo turnover at ports in the Far Eastern basin reached 191.7 million tonnes, a large part of which was accounted for by coal transshipments. It is anticipated that the growth of coal exports to Asia-Pacific countries and active development of new coal deposits in the Russian Far East will continue. New projects involving the transshipment of grain cargoes and seafood products, as well as the development of the Russian Far Easts transit potential, will also help to increase cargo turnover. What areas of development are the highest priorities for increasing competitiveness in the sector? How can zoning of Far Eastern ports according to cargo type be implemented, in a way that also addresses the environmental problems that may arise from the transshipment of coal? What factors in the investment attractiveness of the sector are the most important for potential investors and what changes are needed in order to address these? Which modern financial instruments should be used to implement infrastructure projects in the Russian Far East?
Solving Challenges in Russian–Chinese Communications: Myths and Reality
RussianChinese relations have reached a new level. New points of growth are being noted, including trade in agricultural produce, cross-border electronic trade, small and medium-sized businesses, cooperation in the financial and high-tech sectors, and collaboration on projects in the Russian Far East and the Arctic. This is a promising area that is set to be actively developed. Restrictive factors are also at play, however, and not least with respect to the positioning and promotion of export goods and services. One of these factors is a lack of readiness among target markets (including both businesses and end consumers), due to the lack of a clearly formed image of Russia and China as producers of high-quality and competitive goods and insufficient knowledge and trust, both on the part of consumers in both countries and on the part of business (local partners, distributors, financial institutions, etc.). Another is the absence in Russia and China of a unified, authoritative expert platform for creating a knowledge base with regard to the particulars of communications and marketing in both countries; insufficient exchange of both positive and negative experience; an incompletely formed market for highly-qualified specialists in the fields of promotion and positioning; and difficulties in intercultural communication. What are the models, opportunities, specific features, and risks of entering the Russian and Chinese markets? How is the image of Russia and China formed in the minds of export market consumers? What are the key trends in communications (PR, GR, digital marketing) in the Chinese and Russian export markets? What is the best way to promote a brand in Russia and China in the era of digitalization: the special features of promotion on social media; bloggers as a key sales channel; digital marketing, e-commerce, m-commerce?
Cross-Border Electronic Trade between Russia and China in the Digital Dimension
In recent years, the development of RussianChinese cooperation in cross-border online trade has reached a new level. Within the overall structure of cross-border e-commerce trade between Russia and China, the lions share is represented by Chinese exports to Russia. Recently, however, an increasing number of Russian companies have been viewing China as a promising sales market for their own products via electronic channels, and are seeking opportunities to optimize supply routes. This development of the Far East region is largely the reason for the rate of growth seen in cross-border trade between the two countries. Both the authorities and businesses should therefore focus their efforts in this particular direction. What is the current profile of Russian users of Chinese online stores, and how can these be reoriented towards consuming goods in the mid-to-high price range? What changes in the e-commerce market are anticipated in the short term (including to its structure, technologies, models, services, and priorities)? How might the development of the e-commerce market be influenced by customs and tax regulation measures? What infrastructure projects, including those in the Far East, must be implemented today in order to ensure that consumers receive the levels of service that they have come to expect? What tools can be used to ensure growth in the volume of Russian goods exported to China?
Agricultural Logistics in the Russian Far East: A Driver of Agroindustrial Growth
Growing consumption of agricultural and food products in the countries of East Asia is creating significant export potential for the Russian Far Easts domestic agroindustrial sector. Effective monetization of this potential will require a competitive and modern supply chain within both the Russian Far East and target sales markets. Consumer preferences are dictating new requirements for modern logistics, with the sector being forced to improve its efficiency, reliability, and use of technology. What is the significance of agricultural logistics for the development of the regional agricultural industry? Which modern logistics solutions could be used to increase the competitiveness of domestic agricultural products? What current logistical limitations in the region are holding back agroindustrial exports? What Russian and foreign infrastructure projects aimed at increasing exports are being implemented today? What are some of the new approaches to organizing supply chain infrastructure for key markets? Will agricultural logistics hubs become a mechanism for supporting exports from small-scale farms? How are modern technologies enabling the optimization of logistics for agroindustrial and food products?
An International Medical Cluster in Vladivostok: Taking the First Steps
Every year, around 20,000 inhabitants of the Russian Far East visit medical centres in South Korea, China, Japan, and Singapore. In order to ensure that the regional population has access to qualified medical assistance, plans are in development to extend the Skolkovo International Medical Cluster scheme to Vladivostok Free Port. How can medical tourists be attracted back to the Far Eastern Federal District, and new ones attracted ones from Northern China? What barriers exist today that are preventing foreign investors from pursuing medical projects in the Russian Far East? What are the similarities and differences between plans for medical clusters in Skolkovo and Vladivostok? How can the Far Eastern medical cluster be turned into a source of growth for medical service exports, and what should be taken into account from the outset? Why is it the case that international experience in medicine, rather than threatening national healthcare systems, instead provides a key to improving quality of life and longevity?
The unbalanced distribution of energy resources in Northeast Asia in the context of rapid growth in demand implies a need to ensure an adequate level of supply, which will stimulate the economic growth of energy importing countries. Despite the diversity of models of production and consumption of energy, the geographical proximity of Russia, China, Mongolia, and North and South Korea to one another may lead to mutually beneficial cooperation in Northeast Asia, and the development of trade in energy resources. Keeping in mind the realities of the modern world, the heads of scientific institutes and academies and the heads of international organizations and associations will discuss the possibilities of establishing multilateral scientific and technological cooperation in the field of energy, with the aim of ensuring energy security in Northeast Asia, and will identify potential mechanisms for intensifying cooperation in the region. What will the energy trends of the future be in Northeast Asia? What is the role of the Russian energy sector in Northeast Asia? What steps need to be taken to transition to sustainable production and consumption of energy? What are the prospects for developing the North Korean energy industry? Is cooperation on energy innovation and technology possible?
The Challenges of New Territories: Space, the Arctic, and the World Ocean
In the 21st century, exploration of new territories is becoming increasingly important in terms of access to both resources and logistics, and as a means of preventing disasters. New technologies in conjunction with business models that have been proven to be competitive on the global market should play a key role in this area. Within the framework of the AeroNet, MariNet, and AutoNet road maps of the National Technology Initiative, a number of directions for the development of relevant market-oriented technologies have been formulated: remote sensing of the Earth; the use of monitoring based on unmanned systems; integrated logistics services; organization of communication and information exchange between ships, the coast, and other users; ecological monitoring; smart management of port infrastructure; creation of infrastructure and unmanned navigation resources; development of underwater robotics; mining technologies for extraction of offshore minerals; renewable ocean energy sources; underwater communication systems; etc. What might a smart maritime transport management system and technologies for developing the World Ocean look like? How are technologies related to renewable ocean energy sources and extraction of hard-to-reach natural resources found in the World Ocean developing? Are space exploration mega-projects realistic?
Facilitating the development of human capital in the Far East is a key prerequisite to delivering on the regional development and prosperity strategy. The Concept for the Demographic Policy of the Far East for the period ending 2025 presupposes a set of measures aimed at increasing the birth rate and life expectancy, reducing the death rate, reducing emigration, increasing the regions appeal to migrants, and creating new jobs in the Far East.
How can businesses and non-profits support the implementation of demographic policies?
Which human capital development tools are most effective, given the specific features of the region?
How can the younger generation be enticed to remain in the region?
What would make the Russian Far East a comfortable and attractive place to live?
Which successful international and regional human capital development practices, including those drawing on the experience of neighbouring countries, could be used in the Russian Far East?
For a long time, the contribution of marine aquaculture to the economy of the Russian Far East has been limited. In recent years, the industrys output has been increasing, but further development is being hindered by administrative barriers. In 2017, the first major foreign investors got involved in the sector. Together with their investments, they have also brought in modern technology. A special Internet service for allocating marine plots for aquaculture was launched in 2018, with the help of which more than 100,000 hectares will be turned into new plantations by 2020. What other measures are needed to increase the volume of aquaculture products, both on the Russian market, and for export? How can the issues involved in making land available for the creation of on-shore bases for marine farms be solved? What needs to be done in order to simplify the procedure for carrying out environmental impact assessments for aquaculture? What can be done to improve the effectiveness of measures to safeguard private property used for mariculture production?
The transition from state budget financing to public-private partnership represents a new challenge for the development of sporting infrastructure and new opportunities for investors. Which mechanisms of attracting extra-budgetary investment are already operating in this field? How can SMEs be encouraged to take an interest in the sports industry? What are the requirements that the banking sector imposes with respect to sporting infrastructure projects? Is it feasible to replicate successful examples of the construction and operation of sporting facilities through the PPP mechanism? What is the payback period? What type of support do potential investors in sporting infrastructure expect from the regions? How can interagency and interregional relations be optimized and the legal framework strengthened to increase the investment attractiveness of building and managing sporting infrastructure?
The Forces Driving Change in Society: How to Create Effective Social Communication
Without the cooperation of businesses, charities, and social and volunteer organizations, it is impossible to address the challenges that our society faces today. It is these groups that are the source of innovation, and from which many bold and creative ideas and solutions originate. Modern communications techniques are needed to ensure that information about new ideas and approaches to social issues can reach a wide audience. These techniques may, in turn, become a tool for creating and promoting community values and lead to more people becoming involved in addressing social issues. Effective means of communication can be developed if the efforts of both new contributors and recognized experts in this field are combined. What types of technology can be used to communicate social ideas effectively, and are there any successful examples to be found in Russia? What best international practices can be introduced in Russia? Who might be the key players in the process of setting up these new means of social communication? What measures and initiatives need to be introduced?
Targeted Infrastructure Support for Business: What’s Next?
Since 2015, targeted infrastructure support has been provided in the Russian Far East in the form of a direct free and non-repayable grant. This subsidy has become one of the first tools for supporting major investors in the region, and has been awarded to 12 companies implementing projects worth more than USD 3.5 billion. The ASEZ mechanism has also reduced demand for infrastructure grants as an independent form of support. From 2019, a new infrastructure support tool will be introduced which will include reimbursement of investor expenditure on building utilities and social infrastructure facilities for new production assets through future taxes. What results have been achieved by the targeted infrastructure mechanism employed to support investors in the Russian Far East? How will a taxes for infrastructure mechanism operate, and what risks does business see in this?
The Far East as a Centre of Economic Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region (APR): A Dialogue Between Business and Government
The Russian Federation is interested both in increasing the share of Russian investment in the rapidly developing economies of the Asia-Pacific region and in attracting Asian investment to Russia. At the present time, significant progress has been made in such areas of investment partnership as energy, transport, agriculture, information technology, and industry. However, at the same time there are a number of barriers that impede Russia from maximizing the potential of this cooperation. These include technical barriers, differences between the regulatory environments, the lack of extensive experience in cooperation and relevant information, and a shortage of financial resources and effective mechanisms for supporting exports. Session participants will discuss the difficulties and opportunities that exist on the path to diversifying and strengthening trade and investment flows in the Asia-Pacific region. Representatives of foreign and Russian businesses that are already investing or planning to invest in the Russian Far East will be able to obtain information on the investment potential of the region and existing mechanisms to support investors. They will also be able to learn about the regulatory and supervisory measures being developed directly from government officials and representatives of development institutions, and to ask any questions that they may have.
Information Infrastructure as a Driver of Rapid Economic Development in the Far East
Information infrastructure creates opportunities for the development of telemedicine, distance learning, smart energy, and digital utilities, as well as other sectors which promote growth in the digital economy. The government is set to approve a national plan to develop the countrys information infrastructure, which should help to drive growth in these sectors. On the other hand, according to the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, one in ten residents of the region still lacks access to broadband Internet and a reliable mobile connection. This is slowing the development of the high-tech sector in the region, and postponing the creation of a fully-fledged information infrastructure and transition to a digital economy. The most important task in delivering high-quality social services is providing access to a network of educational institutions and healthcare facilities, and in order to maintain road safety and a fast response to emergencies, especially in winter, it is vital that stable mobile communications services are accessible on federal and regional highways. How can business be persuaded to develop the information infrastructure as a whole? What special considerations should be taken into account in the development of the digital economy in the Far East? Which economic, technological, and regulatory barriers to development can be solved with the help of state support? Is there a role for investment support measures here? What opportunities could a stable high-speed connection provide for the expansion of the innovation sector in the Far East? Which solutions would improve the quality of life in the region?
The World Ocean represents a seemingly boundless resource that no one has yet fully quantified. The oceans contain biological resources with an estimated biomass of 35 billion tonnes. Fish alone, which make up 20% of humanitys food supply, account for 0.5 billion tonnes. The oceans also contain extractable mineral resources in their solid, liquid, and gaseous states. The oceans are a source of energy, such as the raw physical and thermal energy produced by the World Ocean, of which only tidal energy has been harnessed for the most part so far. Water itself is also a resource provided by the World Ocean. Seawater contains about 75 chemical elements, and once it has been desalinated, it can become the vital resource we need to sustain us. At the same time, the state of the oceans aquatic biological resource reserves and the question of how they can be effectively managed are becoming increasingly important. This question is relevant not only to the challenge of providing the population with high-quality food products, but also to ensuring that many industries and agribusinesses are supplied with the raw materials they need. The World Ocean is becoming increasingly strained. As its resources are exploited more intensively, it is becoming increasingly polluted due to the dumping of industrial, agricultural, domestic, and other waste into rivers and seas and as a result of shipping and mining activity. Oil spills and the disposal of toxic substances and radioactive waste in the deep ocean pose a particular threat. The problems of the World Ocean will be the problems of future human civilization. They require concerted international measures to coordinate the use of its resources. How can we learn how to properly evaluate these resources and to use them correctly? What needs to be done in order to preserve and increase the natural bounty that has been given to us?
The Future of the Labour Market in the Far East: New Strategies for Employers
By 2025, the Russian Far East will have a total of more than 100,000 modern, high-performance jobs. It will be impossible to fill these positions using only the Far Easts existing workforce, however. The government has proposed a programme to attract specialists from other regions; nonetheless, the scale and conditions of these proposals are indicative of the need to adopt new measures aimed at attracting staff and creating a new system to train and retrain specialists in accordance with employers requirements. How can we develop a strategy to improve the workforce potential of the Far East? How do we effectively develop and invest in human capital? How do we solve the problems that investors encounter when trying to attract qualified staff that are able to meet the needs of new industries?
Which industries of the Far East have the most powerful export potential?
The implementation of the national export tasks in the Asia-Pacific region is largely the responsibility of the developing industries of the Far Eastern Federal District. Over the past two years, not only the positive dynamics of the exports from the Far Eastern Federal District has resumed, but its structure has also changed qualitatively: the share of fuel and energy resources has decreased, and the volume of deliveries of foodstuffs, machine-building products, and processed wood has increased significantly. In the territories of advanced development of the Far East, more than 70 enterprises has been opened, many of them are oriented to foreign markets. More than 950 new investment projects are in progress.
-What steps do the industries need to unleash the potential of export-oriented projects of the Far East?
-What are the main competitive advantages of Russian goods and services in the APR markets?
-How to form a successful trademark in international markets?
Forward-looking education as a tool of successful demographic policy
The creation of advanced special economic zones in the Russian Far East imposes additional requirements on the education system and requires the introduction of new approaches in this area. Developing technologies for continuing education, vocational guidance, and quality professional training, taking into account the structure of demand for workers and professionals, is an issue that needs to be addressed today to avoid workforce shortages in the future and to ensure that large-scale tasks related to the accelerated development of the region can be implemented.
What problems does the education system in the Far East face, and what are the prospects for developing it?
Which professions will be in demand in the region in the near future?
Are there examples of effective interaction between businesses and educational institutions in the region with a view to preparing and educating students?
What is the potential for developing student exchange programmes involving with Asia-Pacific universities?
Which interesting projects developed by non-profits in the field of education should be replicated in the Far East and in Russia as a whole?
What role do new technologies and innovations play in the development of education?
Environment and innovation. Preserving the natural ecosystems of the Russian Far East
As industrial development gathers pace in the regions, ensuring that manufacturing plants strictly comply with environmental legislation is becoming a prerequisite for preserving the environment. Many companies do not limit their efforts to simple compliance with the legislation and, as part of their corporate social responsibility policies, take additional steps to preserve the ecosystems in the regions where they operate.
Will companies in the Far East be able to meet contemporary environmental safety requirements? What are the current requirements for preserving ecosystems in Russia and the world, what are companies in the Far East doing in this respect?
The Impact of Modernizing Tax Administration on the Investment Attractiveness of the Far East
There can be no rapid economic development without smooth integration of new market participants into the economic and legal environment. To a significant extent, the attractiveness of the Far East is dependent on the competitive conditions it has created for investment and doing business. The most important of these are the tax incentives available in advanced special economic zones (ASEZs) and Vladivostok Free Port, and the special services offered to investors. The ease and convenience of registering a project, and indeed a business, as well as the emphasis on customer service, a risk-oriented approach, and the transparency of the tax authorities in the region, give residents of ASEZs and Vladivostok Free Port and investors confidence in the regions tax regime and tax support for businesses. How can we develop a sense of partnership between taxpayers and tax authorities? How might the digitalization of tax administration and electronic services contribute to this? What benefits might a business enjoy from legally declaring its tax base? What more could be done to create investment and business standards in the Russian Far East that are competitive with standards across the Asia-Pacific region? What pilot projects could be implemented in the field of tax administration and cooperation between tax authorities and businesses? How can we improve mechanisms for increasing the competitiveness of tax-compliant businesses and integrate tax technologies into the digital business environment? What impact might technological and legislative solutions have on this?
High-tech products account for less than 15% of the Russian Far Easts GRP. Meanwhile, the Far Eastern Federal District remains fifth for innovative development among Russias federal districts, and is failing to attract investment in high-tech projects from direct investment and venture capital funds. At the same time, a wide range of major companies and corporations operating in the Russian Far East are actively implementing innovations and purposefully increasing the share of high-tech products in their overall output. What prospects exist for creating a competitive business environment for the high-tech sector? How can a competitive ecosystem be established for developing innovation and high-tech projects in the Russian Far East which is equivalent in scale to those found in other Asia-Pacific region countries? What are the priorities of the Far Eastern Fund for Developing and Implementing High Technology?
Advanced Special Economic Zones and Vladivostok Free Port: The Present and the Future
The number of advanced special economic zone (ASEZ) and Free Port residents has almost tripled in the course of the last year (from 454 to 1,200), indicating increased interest and readiness on the part of the business community to develop entrepreneurship in the Russian Far East. Although the results achieved by the ASEZ and Vladivostok Free Port regimes have been impressive, however, there remains a clear need to increase competitiveness in the international arena and improve existing tools. Practice has shown that a number of incentives are either inapplicable or not in demand, and that existing support measures are insufficient for implementing projects. What needs to be done in order to increase the competitiveness of incentive regimes, both within the country and at an international level? How can cooperation among residents be increased, and how can they be helped to bring their products to market? What measures must be taken to protect the rights of investors and remove administrative barriers? How can the processes involved in cooperating with investors be digitalized and consolidated?
Advanced Special Economic Zones (ASEZs)
The National Project “Small and Medium-Sized Businesses and Support for Individual Entrepreneurs”
Oil and Gas Processing: Creating a New Industry Cluster
Today, the contribution of petrochemicals to Russian GDP is lagging significantly behind the equivalent figures for leading global economies (at less than 2% in comparison with 6% in the USA and 9% in China). At a time of growing foreign competition, choosing the right direction for the development of petrochemical projects within a Far Eastern cluster is gaining particular relevance. It is no coincidence that the Russian Far East is the location for a number of major petrochemical projects which are either at the implementation stage or in preparation, including the Amur Gas Processing Plant, Amur Gas Chemical Complex, Skovorodino Methanol Production Plant, Nakhodka Fertilizer Plant, and many others, representing a total value of more than USD 20 billion. Its close proximity to the premium Asia-Pacific market provides the cluster with an additional advantage. The extraction of helium and other valuable components from Yakutsk and Irkutsk gas at Far Eastern facilities has the potential to facilitate the development both of related markets, and of high-tech industrial sectors. How well supplied is the region with raw materials and the capacity to process them? What factors should form the basis of value creation chains within the sector? What high-value-added products will be in demand on domestic and external markets? Is there a need to develop the small-scale LNG market in the region? Will changes to the tax regime affect the cost of raw materials for the petrochemicals sector? Petrochemicals from naphtha, ethane, or LPGs what should be developed and why?
Prospects for Integrating the Russian Far East into Eurasian Logistics Chains
The majority of logistics chains between Europe and Asia today use the route through the Suez Canal. The system of Chinese government subsidies is helping to actively develop both overland services from China to Europe and transit routes from the Republic of Korea and Japan with transshipment in Chinese ports. Despite the existence of historical links between Russia and the majority of Central Asian countries, a significant portion of the transit to and from Asia-Pacific countries continues to bypass Russia. The geographical position of the Russian Far East is a significant competitive advantage that can be utilized to facilitate the transportation of a significant volume of cargo from the Asia-Pacific countries via routes that run through Russia. Increasing the volume of goods transported by intermodal services from China, South Korea, Japan, and other Asia-Pacific countries through the Russian Far East should become a priority, the resolution of which will make it feasible to use the existing capabilities of the region and create a foundation for building technologies to transport transit cargo. The volume of such cargo is set to increase fourfold by 2024, in accordance with a decree issued by the President of the Russian Federation. Is the advantage in the speed of delivery enough to switch import-export flows from Asia-Pacific countries to Russia over to routes that run through the Far East? What contribution can the Far East make to increasing transit volumes through Russian territory? How can new cargo delivery technologies accelerate the development of transit services through this region? What conditions and tools need to be created to attract cargoes that currently travel via alternative routes? Which mechanisms are needed to promote Russian transportation services in the Asia-Pacific region?
Mining and Processing Solid Minerals: The Traditional Industries Today and Tomorrow
The Far Eastern region is one of the key centres of the Russian mining industry. The volumes of metals extracted and produced there are growing year-on-year: in 2017, for instance, gold extraction in the Russian Far East grew by more than 7% to 140 tonnes, which represents more than half of all gold extracted nationally, while the rise in tin production exceeded 60%. As extraction volumes in the Russian Far East are increasing, so too are its infrastructure capabilities. These factors are naturally serving to increase the investment attractiveness of the region, both for domestic and for international investors. At the present time, a number of foreign companies are not only engaged in extracting and processing minerals, but are also involved in investment activity as they participate in merger and acquisition deals in the mining sector. Countries represented by these foreign investors include Canada, the USA, China, and India. As before, however, a number of restrictions remain in the domestic mining sector, hindering its development. What legislative reforms are necessary to increase the investment attractiveness of the Russian Far Easts mining sector? What are the current infrastructure limitations in the Russian Far East, and what can be done to resolve these at both the federal and regional levels?
The New Asian Geopolitics and Political Economy: Opportunities for Russia
The rise of China and India is changing the entire world geopolitics. Previously, these countries were objects of competition and receivers of ideas and technologies, but now they are becoming the sources of expansion and entering competition with the traditional leaders. How does this change the future of todays world? Can Russia capitalize on this tectonic shift? How will sanctions and trade wars influence the long-term strategies of China and India? Is their rise irreversible? What can Russia offer the new world geopolitics?
Trends in scientific research that have emerged in recent decades have raised questions about the future of science as a field of enquiry. On the one hand, it is actively engaging and developing established disciplines, but, on the other hand, it is eroding the boundaries between these disciplines by implementing common methods of research and design. Since such research promises still greater and more revolutionary discoveries affecting almost every aspect of our work and daily life, it will inevitably attract more and more participants, leading in turn to the even stronger development of science. What does the near future hold for science? What form will it take, what will the worlds scientific map look like, which branches will develop most, and which opportunities for invention and discovery will progress the furthest? What is behind the rapid pace of development in scientific knowledge in recent times? And what will our world be like in the near and far-distant future? What kind of planet will we leave to our descendants?
Russia and the Koreas: A New Space for Economic Cooperation?
For a number of years, Russia, South Korea, and North Korea have been discussing trilateral cooperation projects, including the construction of a Trans-Korean railway that joins the Trans-Siberian and construction of a gas pipeline and energy bridge into South Korea via China. Current improvements in the diplomatic situation are opening up new prospects for these projects. The key question is how and by whom will the risks associated with these projects be hedged?
Belt and Road is one of the biggest development initiatives of the 21st century in terms of scale, and is set to affect not only the regions on the historical Silk Road, but almost all of the Earths eastern hemisphere. For Russia, the key format for cooperation with the Chinese initiative lies in linking Belt and Road and the construction of the EAEU, which is already producing initial results. Russias strategic priority, however, is to build a Greater Eurasian partnership by synergizing the potential of EAEU countries, the SCO, and ASEAN. The core of this partnership will be RussianChinese cooperation in the creation of joint projects and the formation of a space for development. How can government officials and entrepreneurs best navigate their way among the multitude of initiatives and projects taking place in Eurasia? How can the interests of partners be balanced in order to arrive at mutually beneficial solutions? How can comprehensive projects be managed in an environment where East and West cooperate harmoniously? One answer lies in the philosophy behind the ancient game Go (weiqi), which enables a shared vision for successful cooperation to be developed based on universal strategic principles and the countries closest to us.
Marine reserves and marine protected areas. How can the seas surrounding the Russian Far East and the world’s oceans be safeguarded against human interference?
The oceans are an important component of human economic activity and a frequent subject of scientific research. A recent study published in the Current Biology journal reports that only 13% of the worlds oceans which cover more than 70% of the planets surface remain unaffected by human activity. According to researchers from the University of Queensland, the marine wildlife ecosystem is characterized by high levels of biodiversity and large numbers of endemic species that must be protected against the devastating effects of human activities.
In particular, marine reserves and marine protected areas are now being created to address such global problems as overexploitation of living marine resources, climate change, and pollution of the oceans with hazardous substances and industrial waste.
The problems associated with preserving the oceans and seas as well as creating and operating the reserves will be addressed by guest experts.
Public initiatives as an integral part of regional development
Systematic activity in the field of environmental protection is impossible without the promotion of a culture of environmental responsibility in society capable of changing peoples usual way of thinking about ecology as the sole concern of the state and large industrial companies. Non-profit organizations can play an important role in shaping interest in social ecology issues through educational projects, master classes, competitions, and other events as well as involving local residents in volunteer activities.
How can the importance of environmental activities be brought to the attention of the general public? How can people be encouraged to take personal responsibility for the state of the environment in the region? How can the general public be motivated to take action?
Which public initiatives and socially significant projects led by non-profits and businesses in the region contribute to increasing involvement in tackling environmental issues?
The Far East and Sci-tech Progress. What’s the Strategy?
The concept of sci-tech progress encompasses the joint development of both science and technology, the invention and spread of new technologies, and new scientific discoveries. Progress in any one area is closely linked to all others: social development helps nurture new forward-thinking minds that will go on to enrich various industries, which then facilitates the creation of new opportunities for satisfying material demands. Sci-tech progress is highly influenced by the economy: researchers fear that developments in certain areas of science and even medicine will stall because theyre not economically profitable. For example, medicines for rare diseases might not make it to the necessary experimental and trial stages because of the high costs and low profits involved. In the last 200 years, progress has moved swiftly, ever accelerating, driving breath-taking social developments while also depleting the planets resources. The nine federal subjects that make up the Russian Far East account for almost 40% of the countrys territory, but only 5% of the population lives on these approximately six thousand square kilometres. The population density of the Russian Far East is 40 times smaller than in the European part of Russia. How can the Russian Far East be made even more appealing? Where should the priorities lie: in improving the regions standards of living or in large energy and infrastructure projects? Can the Russian Far East become attractive and competitive while keeping up with its foreign neighbours when it comes to the implementation of large sci-tech projects?
Parents, Children, and Changing Technology: The Limits of Control and Potential for Development
The world our children are growing up in is changing significantly faster than it did in decades past. Developments in IT, cyberspace, and electronic payment systems are emerging so quickly that children are starting to master them faster than their parents are able to. This can lead to two possible outcomes: either parents place unreasonable restrictions on their children, who can easily find ways around them, or children have unrestricted access to information which may be harmful to them. How can we protect children without inhibiting their development of the skills they clearly need to be successful in our contemporary world? How can we harness the enthusiasm of todays children for smartphones, computers, and other gadgets and turn it to their benefit? What approaches have forward-thinking parents and society already developed to tackle this issue?
Transforming the Business Climate: A New Stimulus for Dialogue Between Business and Government
Russia has numerous different tools for creating a favourable business environment and encouraging cooperation with entrepreneurs. Until recently, however, these processes have not been centralized. In 2018, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, together with the Agency for Strategic Initiatives and leading business associations, launched a new mechanism for managing systemic changes in the business environment, called Transforming the business climate, a tool which allows government departments to respond promptly to queries from the business community. It facilitates the removal of existing barriers to doing business. The new mechanism strengthens the role of entrepreneurs at every stage: from setting up initiatives to monitoring their implementation. But what kinds of tools really do help businesses? What kinds of problems requiring improvements to regulations do entrepreneurs face? How can processes be synchronized in order to improve the business environment? What should the Transforming the business climate mechanism include?
Timber in the Far East: Increasing the Industry’s Economic Return
The Russian Far East possesses 30% of the Asia-Pacific regions timber reserves. At present, however, only 18% of its 90 million cubic metres of timber are utilized annually. The forestry industry, which retains a focus on raw material exports, accounts for no more than 1.5% of the regional economy. In 2018, the rules for doing business in the Far Eastern forestry sector changed. Firstly, new conditions have entered into force that make forestry resources available to major investors planning to develop regional processing capacity. Secondly, export duties for companies exporting only round timber will gradually be increased from 25% to 80%. What needs to be done to increase the amount of investment per hectare of forest? Is it advisable to vary state support measures for forestry projects depending upon the degree of raw timber processing involved, and how exactly should this be done? How can the economic performance of projects to develop forests and build forest infrastructure be improved?
Developing international transport corridors in the Russian Far East is one of the priorities for government transport policy. Russian railways are a central component of the Eurasian rail network, connecting the railway systems of Europe and East Asia. Contemporary economic processes, including trends in the development of global trade and changes in traditional global economic relations, are creating opportunities for the effective use of Russias unique logistics potential due to its geographic location, and for the joint strengthening of economic ties both at the regional level and on the EastWest axis. Currently, there is rapid growth of transit traffic from East Asia to Europe and vice versa, and an extensive programme is being implemented to develop Russian railways in the east of the country, including modernization of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM). A project is underway to build a railway link to the island of Sakhalin. Russia and Japan are among the biggest trading partners. The creation of a transport link from Sakhalin to the island of Hokkaido through La Pérouse Strait, which would open up entirely new opportunities for the socioeconomic development of the two countries, is viewed as promising. What kind of problems do Japanese shippers face today? What measures are being taken to boost the use of rail services and the Trans-Siberian Railway? How should seamless logistics (seaportrailway) be developed? What kind of logistics infrastructure is needed? What will completing the project to build a direct rail link bring to Sakhalin? Travelling by train from Tokyo to London: is it a dream, or tomorrows reality?
In 2018, the first investment projects were selected as part of a programme to fill investment quotas in the fishing industry. As a result, the successful companies have now been assigned quotas in exchange for the obligatory construction of ten seafood processing plants with a total processing capacity of more than 300,000 tonnes annually, as well as nine fishing vessels to be built at Russian shipyards. These projects alone will serve to double processing production, but the result will remain far from the global figures achieved by the major fishing countries. The sector possesses significant potential for growth. A new 15-year period for assigning quota shares will begin in 2019, and now is the time to determine the key rules and discuss possible changes required to develop the sector. What changes can the sector anticipate in this new period? What structural changes must be incorporated in order to stimulate active investment by sector participants and reduce investment risks? How can 100% implementation of investment quota projects be ensured, and what are the associated risks? What modern products should be produced and how can these be promoted?
Toward the Great Ocean – 6: People, History, Ideology, Education. Rediscovering the Identity
Russias pivot east has long been perceived as a technological move, if not a technical process. The discussion centres around developing economic ties and integrating Russia into regional manufacturing, sales, and technology chains. But the ideological dimension of this pivot is no less important. The Russian elite and Russian society should come to believe that the relationship with Asia is a serious and long-term shift. The essence of this new phase lies in consolidating technological achievements and reflecting on the new policy in the context of the domestic perception of Pacific Russias role in the countrys development and international standing.
The strategy of the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in on cooperating with regions to the north is intended to create the necessary conditions to encourage RussianKorean trade, economic, and investment cooperation in the Russian Far East. The joint implementation of the Nine Bridges concept has been proposed as part of this policy, including cooperation in such areas as energy and gas, the Northern Sea Route, the development of agriculture, seafood production, etc. At present, six investment projects that are partly funded by the Republic of Korea (to the tune of over USD 50 million in total) are being pursued under the new mechanisms for developing the Russian Far East. South Korean companies are discussing the possibility of funding and carrying out promising new projects worth a total of USD 1.1 billion. The implementation of the Nine Bridges partnership concept should give a new impetus to the growth of trade and investment cooperation between the regions of the Russian Far East and the Republic of Korea. How can we move from diplomacy to the practical implementation of investment projects, including under the aegis of the Nine Bridges cooperation concept? What barriers hamper the implementation of RussianKorean investment projects? Which areas are the most promising for jumpstarting RussianKorean business dialogue?
Competitiveness and the National Jurisdiction: A Space of Freedom for Business
A competitive national legal system represents new opportunities for national business and foreign investors. Russia presently faces the challenge of creating a legal system which will improve the competitiveness of its national jurisdiction for domestic and foreign business. It is vital to build a unified and streamlined legal system, where regional and local legislation is organically integrated into a common concept which does not collide with, but rather rationally complements federal legislation. The development of the digital economy is a chance to put in place the conditions needed to ensure the transparency of judicial proceedings, improving trust in Russian courts as it does so. Together with the introduction of new technologies into the judicial system, issues surrounding the development of an extrajudicial system for regulating disputes and the competence of representatives of the national judiciary also remain current.
To what extent is the competitiveness of the national jurisdiction affected by the pressure of sanctions, and what measures are essential to ensure legal protection for business?
Trade between Russia and ASEAN countries grew 35% in 2017, but the potential for trade, economic, and investment cooperation is not being fully utilized. The Far East could provide a foothold enabling Russia to intensify its economic cooperation with the ASEAN. The region already possesses favourable conditions for international investment. A number of infrastructure, agricultural, and shipbuilding projects are now underway in the Far East with the participation of ASEAN countries. Promising areas for cooperation also include energy, infrastructure development, the agroindustrial sector, engineering, technology, and forestry. The digital transformation of the economy is a priority for both Russia and the ASEAN. It is therefore important to focus on developing cooperation in information and communications technologies, the media, and data security. What problems and challenges need to be addressed to successfully develop economic cooperation between the ASEAN and Russia? In which industries do projects have the largest investment potential? What changes and what kinds of support are required to attract investment from ASEAN businesses?