The session ‘Industrial Clusters: How to Make the Regions More Attractive to Investors’ was held on 14 February 2019 as part of the business programme of the Russian Investment Forum.
Denis Kravchenko, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Industry, Innovative Development, and Entrepreneurship, said industrial clusters and mechanisms for their operation were legislated more than two years ago.
The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade is implementing the ‘Locomotives of Growth’ project by establishing industrial clusters together with the Association for the Development of Clusters and Technology Parks of Russia. Having an industrial cluster in a region increases its investment appeal. Such a mechanism has already proven to be effective, but the clusters need to be built not only taking into account the interests of the region, but investors as well.
Over the last two years, 43 industrial clusters have been formed with more than 600 various enterprises and output of roughly RUB 1.3 billion.
Aleksey Sagal, President of Arnest, which produces aerosol products, believes that the cluster approach improves the competitiveness of business.
President of the Unilever Group in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus J.V. Raman fully agrees with Sagal. Raman said a cluster needs to observe the mandatory rules: costs must be competitive, the product quality must correspond to global standards, the products must be safe, and the level of customer service must be remarkably high. It is easy to obtain new technologies and work in accordance with high international standards in such clusters, he said.
Raman proposed introducing export subsidies of 7–8% for reliable clusters in order to increase their competitiveness on world markets. Such a decision will help to develop clusters and enhance the country's export potential and the stability of Russian clusters on global markets.
At the session, the speakers also spoke about problems in the cluster sphere. In particular, enterprises must go through a wide range of regulatory procedures in order to be included in a cluster that has already been formed. In addition, they believe that the winner of a competition for state orders should receive no more than 70% of the amount, while the remaining 30% should be distributed between the companies that took second and third places.
Federal Intellectual Property Service (Rospatent) Director Grigory Ivlev was asked by the participants: “Who in Russia can assess what is happening in the world in a given sector and the prospects of a particular technology?” His reply was “patent analytics” or, in other words, technological intelligence. This is the only thing that can serve as a mechanism for choosing the right business development strategy in a given sector. Any type of production will be a breakthrough if it focuses on the global market, Ivlev said.
Russian Railways First Deputy CEO Alexander Misharin pointed out that Russian Railways is extremely interested in collaborating with industrial clusters since the company is a major transport and logistics holding. Russian Railways is integrated into almost all the country’s logistic chains. In addition, the holding not only provides and consumes services, but also invests in the creation of new products, including transport engineering.
“We are interested in a cluster approach. In this case, it will make it easier to organize the provision of all transport and logistics services for cluster structures and thus fulfil the company’s main task, which is to develop Russia’s transport infrastructure”, Misharin said.