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Advanced Special Economic Zones 2.0. The View from Investors
7 September 2017

Faced with the considerable challenges of developing infrastructure and significantly expanding production in order to meet the needs of a rapidly growing middle class in the Asia-Pacific region, an intense battle for investment has begun. Asia-Pacific countries are developing and implementing more and more incentive schemes for investors as they seek to create the best conditions for doing business. In order to create a business environment in the Russian Far East which can compete with those found in the major centres of the Asia-Pacific region, and to attract private investment into the macroregion, advanced special economic zones (ASEZs) have been set up. These are stand-alone production sites, into which the government invests to establish the infrastructure investors need. The government also provides investors in these zones with tax incentives and essential government services under simplified arrangements. Since 2015, 17 ASEZs have been set up, in which more than 300 investment projects are being implemented and 20 new production facilities have been created with the help of capital from Russia, China, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and other countries. How do investors rate the effectiveness of the ASEZ programme and its influence on the economic viability of projects? What changes should be made to ASEZs to increase profitability and reduce the risk to investors? How competitive is the ASEZ programme compared to the incentives offered by leading Asia-Pacific countries to attract investment? What best practices from special economic zones in the Asia-Pacific region should be used to develop ASEZs? ASEZs are managed by companies owned jointly with Japan, South Korea, China and other countries: is it possible to count on significant growth in investment from the Asia-Pacific region? Digitizing ASEZs — a solution to the problem of the administrative burden faced by investors?

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