4 September 2021

Eastern Economic Forum Confirms Status as Asia-Pacific Region’s Leading International Platform

 

The 6th Eastern Economic Forum came to a close on 4 September in Vladivostok. The main theme of this year’s Forum was ‘The Opportunities for the Far East in a World Under Transformation’.

The world has changed over the last year, and new formats for international cooperation are needed in order to solve the pressing economic and technological issues we face, overcome the global economic recession and return to growth.

“When organizing EEF 2021, a hybrid format for participants was looked at from the outset, since the COVID-19 situation varies from country to country. Throughout the pandemic, the ability to connect to online discussions taking place all over the world has significantly expanded the international presence of the Forum. We are seeing very high levels of exposure and interest in the development of the Russian Far East, which suggests that economic life is recovering and we are returning to business as usual. The Forum in Vladivostok, which has now come to an end, has once again confirmed the EEF’s status as a leading international discussion platform,” said Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation and Executive Secretary of the Eastern Economic Forum Organizing Committee Anton Kobyakov.

 

Business programme

The 6th Eastern Economic Forum marked the first time that international events took place as part of a separate track on the business programme. There were seven business dialogues in all: Russia–ASEAN, Russia–Italy, Russia–China, Russia–Europe, Russia–India, Russia–Japan and Russia–Republic of Korea. Events were also held as part of the 10th APEC Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education, an international conference marking the centenary of Russian-Mongolian diplomatic relations, and the Greater Eurasian Partnership. A Russia–Canada roundtable was held on the sidelines of the Forum, as well as a roundtable on ‘Yakutia–Gujarat (India): The Potential for Multilevel Cooperation’.

The main event of the Forum was the plenary session attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin. President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and President of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh took part in the event via video link, while President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha gave video addresses to Forum participants.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev discussed the great importance of the Far East as a strategic partner for Kazakhstan, since it provides a geographical link between Eurasia and the rapidly developing Asia-Pacific region. The President proposed stepping up joint work to improve economic connectedness across the region through the construction of an efficient transport infrastructure along with new forms of cooperation to attract investment, create jobs, and ensure sustainable future growth.

“A memorandum on the creation of a digital government platform was signed between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Sberbank on the sidelines of the Forum today. This marks a major step forward in the strategic partnership between our two countries. I believe that this is a clear indicator of the mutual trust between Kazakhstan and Russia,” said the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh acknowledged the importance of the Eastern Economic Forum as a trusted mechanism for dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region. He also noted that this year marks the centenary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Russia.

“Our wide-ranging cooperation, which has a storied history, will continue to be enriched and strengthened by our comprehensive strategic partnership and will contribute to the sustainable development of the region,” the Mongolian President said.

As for partner projects, Khürelsükh offered his support for Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership initiative and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Mongolia hopes to be actively involved in infrastructure projects in the region as well as green development and environmental restoration programmes under these initiatives.

Xi Jinping underlined the significant momentum and enormous potential of the new era of Chinese-Russian relations, which is defined by comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction. According to the President of the People's Republic of China, the two nations must support each other's efforts in the fight against the pandemic, increase cooperation on the development and production of vaccines as a global public good, and resolutely fight attempts to politicize the issue of vaccines and call into question the origin of the coronavirus.

“We must continually step up our efforts along the lines of mutually beneficial cooperation, including in the integration of the Belt and Road Initiative and the EAEU. We must support the innovative development of the digital economy, respond collectively to global climate change, and contribute to the socioeconomic development of the region,” Xi Jinping said.

Narendra Modi offered his support for Vladimir Putin’s vision for the development of the Russian Far East. He also said that India will prove to be a reliable partner for Russia in the implementation of this vision.

“I am delighted to announce that one of the largest shipyards in India, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, is set to become a partner of the Zvezda shipyard. Some of the most important commercial ships in the world will be built under this partnership. Just as Russia is helping India to develop space exploration through the Gaganyaan human spaceflight programme, India will provide assistance to Russia and serve as a partner in the opening up of the Northern Sea Route and the opening of this passage to international trade and commerce,” the Prime Minister of the Republic of India said.

Among the new areas for cooperation with Russia named by Narendra Modi were the agroindustrial sector, the ceramics industry, strategic rare earth minerals and the diamond industry. The Prime Minister of India invited the governors of all 11 regions of the Far East to visit India at the earliest available opportunity.

Prayut Chan-o-cha said that he sees many opportunities for cooperation with Russia in improvements to interconnectivity in infrastructure, trade and investment, the exchange of best practices in tourism development and the creation of special economic zones.

“The Eastern Economic Corridor shares many similarities with the Russian Far East, which is of course centred on Vladivostok. In my view, these two regions have enormous potential, and are both gateways to their respective regions. I therefore believe that the strategic position of the Eastern Economic Corridor in Southeast Asia makes it a project with enormous promise,” said the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand.

 

Youth programme

International delegates took part in the Youth EEF, a new track at the 6th Eastern Economic Forum. The sessions were attended by Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization Darren Tang, Partner at Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery David Kogan, Chief Executive Officer of Sirius Global – Academic Diplomacy 4.0 Gabriella Marcelja, Executive Director of SERAC-Bangladesh SM Shaikat, Member of the Board of Directors of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) Milena Ivkovic, Director of JIS Group Educational Initiatives Simarpreet Singh and Executive Director of the Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation) Anish Shreshtha.

 

Friends for Leadership

Participants of the international Friends for Leadership community of leaders and entrepreneurs of the next generation representing over 20 Asia-Pacific nations discussed the new realities of the post-crisis world order. They were selected at a competition held under the auspices of the UN alongside partners at the Roscongress Foundation, the UN Information Centre in Moscow, the UN75 Office, TV Brics and the Russian Centre for Promotion of International Initiatives.

The young leaders held a number of sessions with executives at Rossotrudnichestvo as well as Russian and foreign officials. They also appeared as speakers on the main business and youth day programmes. The participants’ projects covering issues such as climate change and environmental protection, the post-crisis recovery and innovations in education, science and technology were presented to Russia’s business community and regional leaders. The projects are at the implementation stage and can be scaled up to serve other parts of Russia.

 

Participants

As of 3 September, the Forum had been attended by delegates from 57 countries.

A number of high-ranking foreign officials appeared at the Forum, including Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Roman Sklyar, Minister of Oil and Natural Gas of the Republic of India Sri Hardip Singh Puri and Minister of Planning and Finance of Myanmar Win Shein.

Heads of major foreign companies were also in attendance, including Chief Executive Officer of Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) Sam Hyun Ka, CEO of KT Corporation Hyeon-Mo Ku and Chairman Emeritus and Board Director of Iida Group Holdings Kazuhiko Mori.

 

Cultural programme

The ‘Under the Venetian Sky: Vedute of the 18th Century from the Intesa Sanpaolo Collection’ exhibition opened during the Forum for EEF guests and participants as well as Vladivostok residents. The project was implemented as part of a cooperation agreement between Italy and Russia signed by Chairman of the Board of Directors of Banca Intesa Sanpaolo Professor Antonio Fallico and Primorye State Art Gallery in 2014 with the support of the Roscongress Foundation.

 The exhibition consists of four canvases by the landscape painters Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, Michele Marieschi and Hendrik Frans van Lint. The works on display are among the most outstanding examples of Venetian painting.

 

Sporting programme

Athletes from ten countries participated in the sporting and entertainment programme. Winners and runners-up of the World Judo Juniors Championships from Turkey, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Hungary and Tajikistan took part in the International Jigoro Kano Judo Tournament under the patronage of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The WCT Pacific Ocean Cup stage of the World Curling Tour for mixed pairs was held with athletes from Switzerland, Hungary, Poland and Kazakhstan participating.

 

International agreements

International and foreign companies and organizations signed 20[ig1]  agreements. The majority of agreements were signed with companies from China, Japan and Kazakhstan.

 

Austria

·      The Far East Development Corporation and Kronospan signed an agreement on the implementation of an investment project for timber processing and the production of oriented strand board, plywood and lumber with a capital investment of RUB 20 billion and the creation of up to 300 new jobs.

 

Canada

·      The Roscongress Foundation and the Canadian Permafrost Association signed an agreement on establishing effective communication between Russian expert communities, business and political figures and the Canadian Permafrost Association.

 

China

·     China Railway International Group and Primorye Territory signed a statement of mutual interest and intent to implement an investment project for the ‘Construction of a Vladivostok ring road in Primorye Territory. Stage 1: Russky Island – Yelena Island – Ulitsa Kazanskaya’ in Primorye Territory. Investment volume: RUB 75 billion.

·     VEB.RF and the ZED Development project company (part of Region Group) signed a cooperation agreement for the construction of an aerial lift across the Amur river at the section of the Russian-Chinese national border linking the cities of Blagoveshchensk (Russia) and Heihe (China). The construction project is being implemented jointly by the Russian investor and its Chinese partner, the China Railway Construction Corporation. VEB.RF will invest RUB 2 billion.

·     The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People's Republic of China signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of establishing and strengthening cooperation on labour and social security issues of mutual interest.

·     Pharmeco and the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia signed a partnership agreement with the aim of developing cooperation between Russian and Chinese organizations and Asia-Pacific countries in the field of pharmacology and the construction of healthcare facilities.

·     Zeleny Bulvar and KitayStroy signed a cooperation agreement on the construction of residential real estate in Vladivostok. Two 25-floor apartment buildings are set to be built in the Zeleny Ugol neighbourhood of Vladivostok by 2025.

·     Stroytransgaz and KitayStroy signed an agreement on the implementation of a project to build a museum and accompanying educational and cultural centre in Vladivostok.

 

Ethiopia

·        The ministries of science and higher education of Russia and Ethiopia signed an agreement on bilateral cooperation.

 

Japan

·     The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, VEB.RF, ECN Group and Marubeni Corporation signed an agreement to implement a project to produce ships using methanol fuel at the Zvezda shipyard.

·     GTLK and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines signed an agreement for Mitsui O.S.K. Lines to make an equity investment in GTLK Asia Maritime.

·     The Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan signed a bilateral agreement on the supply of LNG and gas condensate.

·     Novatek and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) signed an agreement on strategic cooperation on low-carbon projects.

·     The Europlast Primorsky Plant and Ryozai Kaihatsu signed a memorandum of cooperation on the expansion of exports to Japan between the parties.

·     The Europlast Primorsky Plant and Ryozai Kaihatsu signed a contract on the sale and purchase of PET preforms.

 

Kazakhstan

·      The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin and head of Sberbank Herman Gref signed a memorandum of cooperation on the implementation of projects to promote the digital transformation of Kazakhstan, the transition to a platform model of digitalization and the data-driven government concept[ig2] .

·      The Roscongress Foundation and QazExpoCongress signed an agreement on cooperation to improve communications between the expert communities of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan.

 

Serbia

·      The Centre for Global IT-Cooperation and OpenLink Group signed a memorandum of understanding.

 

South Korea

·      The Far East and Arctic Development Corporation and KT Corporation signed an agreement on the creation of a medical diagnostics centre and a data centre in Primorye Territory.