As part of his visit to India, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev held a field session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Mumbai. The plenary session and industry discussions were attended by 130 representatives of 55 Indian companies.
The field session included presentations on the investment potential of the Russian Far East, including preferential regimes in advanced special economic zones (ASEZs) and Free Ports. «Each country strives to attract investment and develop their economy. In recent years, Russia has demonstrated significant growth in investment attractiveness. The Russian Far East is a special territory. Five years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin designated the development of the Russian Far East a national priority and ordered the Government of the Russian Federation to start developing Far Eastern regions. The Eastern Economic Forum platform was created as one of the main tools for working with other countries and with companies investing in the Far East. The Forum is not a platform, but a tool for attracting investment and getting feedback from entrepreneurs,» said Trutnev.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister, over the last five years, Russia has demonstrated rapid growth in the World Banks Ease of Doing Business Ranking, rising 88 positions to 31st out of 190 countries. Russia has created a competitive investment space in its Far East, with 18 advanced special economic zones with one of the lowest tax rates in the Asia-Pacific region. According to Trutnev, Russias ASEZs are ahead of Indian analogues (e.g. Andhra Pradesh SEZ) across a number of indicators, including income tax and preferential regime registration periods for legal entities. Investors have the opportunity to become residents of a free port and receive targeted infrastructure and financial support. «We can expand our cooperation in the extractive resources industries, diamond processing, timber, agriculture, fishing, and infrastructure development. Economic growth in the Russian Far East is on average double that of other Russian regions,» noted Trutnev.
According to Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Chandrajit Banerjee, India and Russias cooperation has spanned many years and can intensify in the Russian Far East. «In May, we sent a team of Indian entrepreneurs to research cooperation opportunities in the Far East. Ten companies took part in the business mission. We see potential for collaboration in industries such as timber processing, coal, diamond cutting, and pharmaceutics. The Eastern Economic Forum is a way to further develop our relations.»
General Director of the Far East Investment and Export Agency (ANO API) Leonid Petukhov noted that the Indian track has become one of the most intensive directions of the Agencys international activity. In March of last year, the Russian Far East Desk, a branch of Invest India, was created to provide informational support and ANO API contacts to interested Indian companies and facilitate the sharing of experiences in attracting investment. ANO API representatives have been working in Mumbai since March of this year. In cooperation with the Agency, the EEF field session included discussions with Indian entrepreneurs on collaboration in the mining industry, timber processing, and agriculture.
In the words of Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation and Executive Secretary of the Eastern Economic Forum Organizing Committee Anton Kobyakov, «India has been invited to be the guest country of honour for the 5th Eastern Economic Forum. Consequently, the Forum programme will pay special attention to topics related to the development of Russian-Indian relations and strengthening the countries strategic partnership. The EEF field session in Mumbai presented the economic potential of the Russian Far East and promising areas for cooperation to our Indian partners. The results of these discussions will be used to shape the business programme of the Eastern Economic Forum.»
As a reminder, 17 countries currently invest in the Russian Far East, including China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. The implementation of projects from India has begun. Through ASEZ and Free Port regimes, Indian capital will fund the implementation of five investment projects with an estimated investment volume of over RUB 53 billion. Tata Power has obtained a license to develop the Krutogorovsky coal deposit in Kamchatka Territory. KGK has co-invested in a project with Singaporean company Sudima International Pte Ltd to open a timber processing complex in Primorye Territory. These two projects are supported by the Far East Investment and Export Agency (ANO API). In Vladivostok, KGK has launched a diamond cutting and polishing factory. M. Suresh Vladivostok has become a resident of the Free Port of Vladivostok and is preparing to launch a diamond cutting and polishing factory. Jaytea (Madhu Jayanti International Ltd.) has launched a tea-packing factory in Primorye Territory. Investors from the Republic of India also have a presence in the oil and gas sector. ONGC Videsh owns a 20% share of the Sakhalin-1 offshore oil field project, which it has participated in since 2006.
The 5th Eastern Economic Forum will be held on 46 September 2019. As is tradition, the Forum will be held on the campus of Far Eastern Federal University. Each year, the entrepreneur community and political elite have expressed growing interest in the Forum. Last years EEF saw the signing of 220 agreements, contracts, memoranda, and protocols worth a total of RUB 3.185 trillion. This total is 1.3 times greater than the figures for EEF 2017. 58 agreements were signed with international and foreign companies during the event. The Forum was attended by 6,002 delegates and 1,357 media representatives from 60 countries. The largest delegations (officials and business representatives) came from China (1,096 people), Japan (570 people), the Republic of Korea (335 people), as well as Mongolia, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom.