6– 7 September 2017

Vladivostok, Russia

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    17 August 2017

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    All subjects Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next? Doing Business in the Russian Far East We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges Demographic Policy. New Residents in the Far East Business Dialogue
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Advanced Special Economic Zones 2.0. The View from Investors

      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?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Vladivostok Free Port: Successes and Challenges. Putting Our Heads Together

      The sea ports of the Russian Far East connect Russia logistically with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and compete for trade flows in this rapidly growing part of the world. Vladivostok Free Port was established to create globally competitive conditions for their development. Planning for the Free Port took into consideration best international practices in the creation of free port zones, as well as Russia’s own experience of developing the free port system.
      Investors in Vladivostok Free Port receive tax incentives and benefit from preferential administrative policies. A system of 24-hour state border crossing points operates within the Free Port, together with a ‘single-window’ service, electronic declaration and shortened customs clearance times, and a simplified visa entry regime for foreign citizens (using eight-day electronic visas). Vladivostok Free Port is now home to more than 300 investors, and more than 20 new enterprises have been launched.How do residents of the Free Port rate the success of this modern approach? What economic effect are the conditions that have been established having on new enterprises? A unified tax for Free Port residents: how can the tax and administrative burden on business be shifted? What adjustments are needed to the free customs zone regime within Vladivostok Free Port? What effect will electronic visas for foreign citizens have on investors? Extending the free port regime to all ports and airports in the Russian Far East: a necessary step?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Support for Major Investment Projects. What Now?

      Weak development of transport and energy infrastructure is one of the key factors hindering the implementation of major investment projects in the Russian Far East. In response to this problem, a mechanism for delivering targeted infrastructure support to investors in the Russian Far East was developed and launched in 2015. The key purpose of this mechanism is to make state funding available to build the infrastructure which is vital for the commissioning of new production facilities. The resources are made available free-of-charge and no repayment is required. The infrastructure created remains the property of the investor. Fourteen investors have already used this mechanism to launch their projects. Some of them had been unable to proceed for several years, or even decades, prior to the availability of government assistance of this kind. Has the infrastructure subsidy mechanism lived up to the expectations of investors and the government? To what extent has it already made its mark on ROI and the profitability of private investment? How much funding is available and how many projects will it be sufficient to support? How will a new tool for providing support – tax incentives in exchange for investment in infrastructure – function? What new steps must be taken by the government to attract major investment to the region?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      The ‘Far Eastern Hectare’: Initial Experiences

      2016 saw the launch of a program allocating free land in the Russian Far East, the key objectives of which were to attract new inhabitants to settle in the Far East and to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in the macroregion by providing maximally simplified and convenient access to a fundamental economic resource – land. Under the program, any Russian citizen can apply to be allocated up to 1 hectare of land anywhere in the Russian Far East (with the exclusion of territories where it is directly forbidden by law). They may use the land free-of-charge for any legal purpose for a period of 5 years, and if they have succeed in making use of it by the end of this period, it will be transferred to their ownership, again free-of-charge? More than 25,000 people have already become participants in the program, with the total number of applications submitted for a ‘Far Eastern hectare’ exceeding the 100,000 mark. The first ‘Far Eastern hectares’: why are people accepting land in the Russian Far East, and what use do they plan to make of it? What improvements must be made to the ‘Far Eastern hectare’ law and to the online applications system (available at надальнийвосток.рф) Easy money for ‘Far Eastern hectare’ recipients: what proposals are the government making, and how easy are they to achieve? New populated areas on the ‘Far Eastern hectares’: when will infrastructure appear? ‘Far Eastern hectares’ for business purposes: a new stage in the development of workers’ settlements? How can the program be made more attractive, and 100,000 applications transformed into 1 million?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Lowering Energy Tariffs: The Impact on Projects

      A programme to lower energy tariffs in the Russian Far East was launched on 1 July this year. Although it is too early to discuss outcomes, the question for today is clear – how can the maximum benefit for the region’s economy be extracted from the programme, and used to increase competitiveness in the Russian Far East? Following the lowering of energy tariffs for businesses, in combination with easy transport accessibility in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian Far East is attracting renewed interest, both from Russian investors representing the energy sector, and from industrial corporations in Korea, Japan, and China. Global and Russian experience of liberalizing the energy market suggests that the effectiveness of tariff lowering as a mechanism is heavily dependent on the quality of dialogue between economic stakeholders, and on striking a balance between the interests of the state and those of energy consumers. What direct and indirect effects will businesses in the Russian Far East experience as a result of lower energy tariffs? Can we expect growth in investment following reductions in the cost of electricity? What investment projects will receive fresh impetus once energy tariffs have been lowered to the Russian national average? The mechanism for lowering energy tariffs is set to operate for three years – what will happen after 2020? How will the decisions made impact energy development in the Russian Far East as a whole? Could this experience of reducing energy tariffs be applied to other kinds of business costs in the Russian Far East?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Small and Medium-Sized Businesses. Everything for Growth!

      New conditions for doing business in the Russian Far East are increasingly attracting the interest of small companies. Within the last year, the number of projects in ASEZs and Vladivostok Free Port with a total investment of between RUB 1 million and RUB 60 million has increased from 80 to 300. A programme of tax credits for small and medium-sized businesses has been launched in the Russian Far East: nearly 300 business owners have received tax funds to aid their development. What adjustments need to be made to the ASEZ and Free Port regimes in order to make them more attractive to small and medium-sized companies? What can the government do to help small businesses in the Russian Far East access the large Asia-Pacific market? What else can be done to make concessional financing available to small and medium-sized businesses? What is the greatest obstacle to the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in the Russian Far East?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      The Investment Climate in the Regions of the Russian Far East. Investors Comment on Changes

      For the last four years, Russian federal authorities have been working to create conditions for investment and doing business in the Russian Far East which will make it a serious competitor within the Asia-Pacific region. Thanks to new mechanisms, including ASEZs, Vladivostok Free Port, and infrastructure support for investors, more than 700 new investment projects have been initiated in the Russian Far East and 40 new companies have been launched. However, without improving the entrepreneurial climate in each specific region – the direct result of efforts by regional government teams – these new mechanisms will fail to have the necessary multiplicative effect. In the 2017 Russian Regional Investment Climate Index, only two Far Eastern regions demonstrated positive trends: Khabarovsk Territory and Amur Region. The positions of the other regions had worsened significantly. In the opinion of entrepreneurs, what positive and negative changes have taken place in the regions of the Russian Far East over the past year? What are the major needs and requirements from business with respect to the regional authorities right now? How do investors rate the effectiveness of local governors’ teams? What changes do they need to make? What policy changes are regional leaders planning to make in order to improve the investment climate?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Entrepreneurship in the Russian Far East. Risks and Solutions

      The level of administrative pressure on business and the negative impact of law-enforcement and regulatory bodies on the work of entrepreneurs is as significant a factor in the global competitiveness of regions as, for example, the tax burden or labour costs. As demonstrated by the 2017 Russian Regional Investment Climate Index, administrative pressure on business in the regions of the Russian Far East is two-and-a-half times greater than that found in top-rated regions. In the ASEZs and Vladivostok Free Port, however, special mechanisms are in place to protect investors from the excessive attentions of regulatory bodies. What major risks do investors in the Russian Far East see in working with the government? How well protected do they feel? How efficient and effective are mechanisms in place to protect investors in ASEZs and the Free Port? Is it possible to achieve full trust in businesses and no checks on entrepreneurs? How can government compensation for economic losses suffered by businesses be made standard?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Protecting Investments and Creditors’ Rights in the Russian Far East: Strategic Changes

      Unique conditions have been created in the Russian Far East for investing and doing business, but in the absence of a trusted specialized institution for reviewing non-arbitrable disputes, foreign investors are still behaving cautiously. Today, reforms to the judicial system are under active consideration on a federal level, the initial results of arbitral reform have been achieved, and new plans for the Enforcement Code of the Russian Federation are in preparation. But are these measures enough?What global structural changes are necessary in order to ensure investment security and the confidence of foreign investors?Could the Russian Far East act as an experimental staging area for the work of specialized judicial institutions? What recommendations can be offered by investors in the Russian Far East, major creditors and foreign partners?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Investments by State Companies. A Focus on Russia’s Far East

      In accordance with a Russian Government directive, 40 Russian state-owned companies are prioritizinig their work in the Russian Far East. Companies including Gazprom, Rosgeologia, Rosagroleasing, RUSNANO, Russian Railways, and Rosseti have already begun developing investment plans for implementation in Far Eastern regions. Where and in what in the Russian Far East are state-owned companies planning to invest? And what support are they counting on? Investment by Russian state companies – how can a multiplier effect be achieved that will accelerate growth in the Russian Far East?How can small and medium-sized businesses in the Russian Far East become participants in the investment programs of major state-owned companies?
    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Financing Innovation as a Driver of Economic Growth in the Russian Far East

    • Economic Policy in Russia’s East: What’s Next?

      Bonds as a Means of Attracting Finance

      The eastern regions of the Russian Federation possess a strong resource base and an advantageous geographical location, and offer vast and mostly unrealized potential for development. In the current environment, growing the medium and large business sector is, for the most part, impossible without attracting long-term finance. The main sources of financing in the Russian Far East are entrepreneurs’ own funds and bank financing. The potential of the stock market is hardly used at all. The issue of bonds could be used as an alternative source of financing (in relation to bank lending) that would enable business entities to diversify the debt burden on capital, to release collateral, to take their first steps towards the ‘public’ debt market and, as a result, get cheaper funding for further business development. What are the reasons for the low activity of enterprises in the Far East in attracting financing through the obviously advantageous issuance of bonds? What are the ways to increase the attractiveness of bonded loans? Is it possible to attract tens or hundreds of millions of roubles through bonds? How much does an ‘entrance ticket’ to the market cost? What are the ways to optimize costs? How can regional authorities in the Far East help their potential bond issuers? Is it possible to work with foreign investors, given the current sanctions? What mechanisms exist for attracting Asian investment?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Women Empowerment for Growth and Development

      There is growing consensus that substantive gender equality in the labour market is a prerequisite for economic growth, responds to challenges posed by demographic changes in ageing societies and mirrors new societal understandings of shared family responsibilities between men and women. However this consensus has not yet translated into substantial improvements in female participation in the labour market nor in the quality of women's employment and earnings/compensation. Even when women participate in employment, they often face serious job quality deficits such as lower wages than men, higher shares in informal employment and low-paid employment as well as unfavorable working conditions and work environments for the reconciliation of work and family responsibilities and for a more equitable share of responsibilities between men and women. Some of these differences even remain when accounting for structural factors such as choice of education and occupation or differences in the level of employment. The session seeks to demonstrate how increasing female labour force participation can generate growth, stabilize communities and contribute to social innovation. Panelists are invited to share global experiences and views on ways to increase women’s employability and competitiveness, promote women’s entrepreneurship and access to finance, decrease gender participation and pay gaps (including at corporate boards), better address the challenge of the work-family-balance, develop skills to harness opportunities of digital economy and promote women’s leadership through a focus on entrepreneurship, education and economic empowerment.
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Chemical Utilization of Oil and Gas in the Russian Far East: A New Business Niche?

      27% of gas reserves and 17% of oil reserves in the Asia-Pacific region are concentrated in the Russian Far East. The level of development of known oil and gas deposits is extremely low and does not exceed 12%. In 2016, 25.5 million tonnes of oil and 26.7 billion cubic metres of gas were extracted in the macroregion, the majority of which was exported in its raw state. The state has expressed its interest in plans for the deep processing of hydrocarbons in the Russian Far East. A number of Russian companies have announced the launch of major projects relating to the chemical utilization of oil and gas in Russia, including the construction of the Amur Gas Processing Plant, the Amur Gas Chemical Complex, and the Far Eastern Petrochemical Complex. The appearance of such projects fulfils preconditions for the creation of full-scale gas- and petrochemical clusters which will be able to accommodate dozens of processing facilities. What is the existing potential for the production and consumption of the products of gas- and petrochemical companies in Russia and the Asia-Pacific region?Is the Russian Far East a competitive location for the development of the gas- and petrochemical industry? Are Gazprom and Rosneft in a position of readiness to create full-scale chemical clusters in the Russian Far East? What gas- and petrochemical facilities are the most attractive for localization in the Russian Far East from the point of view of financial and market perspectives? How can the formation of new value chains in the Russian Far Eastern gas- and petrochemical industry be initiated?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Agricultural Investment. Feeding the Asia-Pacific Region

      The Russian Far East is located closer than any other region of the country to the largest and fastest growing market of the Asia-Pacific region, which has a population 20 times the size of Russia’s and 470 times larger than that of the macroregion. The Asia-Pacific Region is home to a rapidly growing middle class, which is the source of an enormous demand for quality and environmentally friendly food products. With its unique geographical location and environment, the Russian Far East could become one of the key suppliers of foodstuffs to the Asia-Pacific region. What trends are there in the demand for food products in the Asia-Pacific region from a medium and a long-term perspective? What food products for the Asia-Pacific region could be produced the most advantageously in the Russian Far East? How can lobbying opportunities be secured for Russian agricultural producers in the Asia-Pacific region? What steps must be taken at a government level to transform the Russian Far East into a key supplier to the highly competitive Asia-Pacific foodstuffs market?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Russky Island: The Onset of Creating a New Centre for International Cooperation and Cutting-Edge Technologies in the Asia-Pacific Region

      Russky Island, which throughout its history has been an impregnable fortress protecting Russia’s eastern shores, is becoming a symbol of Russia’s openness to neighbourly and mutually beneficial relationships with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. In 2017 the Russian Government adopted a program for the development of Russky Island as a centre for international collaboration and cutting-edge technologies in the Asia-Pacific region. The island will become the location of an exhibition and convention centre, a new university city, a techno-innovation park, a centre for nuclear medicine, a centre for shipbuilding engineering, a centre for the export of electricity, and a biotechnopark. What investment projects could be implemented on Russky Island? What plans for projects on the island which have already been announced by investors require government support? What conditions should the government create on the island in order to attract investment from cutting-edge technology companies?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Coal and Logistics: Export Potential

      Only 27% of proven coal reserves in the Russian Far East have been made available to investors. A full range of major coal extraction and enrichment projects has now been launched in the macroregion. Having demonstrated resilience during a period of low prices, recovering Russian market players are starting to increase exports to countries in the Asia-Pacific region. However, there is a need to modernize railway networks and optimize transportation tariffs, which are creating bottlenecks within the sector. What unoccupied niches and viable projects in the Russian Far Eastern coal sector could be of interest to investors from the Asia-Pacific region? What are the prospects for coal exports in the Russian Far East? What do coal producers in the Russian Far East expect from modernization of the Baikal–Amur Mainline (BAM) and Trans-Siberian Railway? What is the potential for increasing the effectiveness of investment in coal extraction by developing logistics?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Gold. A New Chapter in the Gold Rush

      30% of gold deposits in the Asia-Pacific region are located in the Russian Far East. More than 20% of proven reserves, or one thousand tonnes of gold, are held within an unallocated state fund, whereas more than 500 deposits require additional exploration and could be introduced into its investment turnover. What gold deposits and investment projects for gold extraction are in need of Russian and foreign investors? How can the government assist in establishing the infrastructure required for the development of new gold deposits? How can the introduction of small and medium-sized deposits into the turnover be accelerated? What financial, tax and administrative initiatives must be created to ensure the flow of capital into the projects of junior companies?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Forests and Timber Processing: From Timber to Pulp and Paper Factories

      The Russian Far East is home to 51% of forest resources in the Asia-Pacific region. Of some 90 million cubic metres of timber available for processing, however, only 16 million cubic metres, or 18%, are harvested. Around 75% of timber is exported in the form of logs; only 25% is processed into lumber and plywood. As for waste and substandard timber, this is permanently lost. In 2016, Vnesheconombank announced the creation of a forestry cluster in the Russian Far East, and in 2017 a major Chinese investor declared their interest in constructing a pulp mill. In which regions of the Russian Far East would investment in forestry bring the most gain? A forestry cluster in the Russian Far East – how to establish a complete cycle of timber processing in the region? What solutions must the government provide in order for this to be achieved? Could raising duties on log exports assist in the development of deep processing enterprises? What impact will the construction of a pulp mill have on the sector regionally?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Investment Fish Quotas. Where and How to Invest in Processing and Shipbuilding

      30% of the aquatic bioresource reserves of the Asia-Pacific region are concentrated in the Russian Far East. In 2017, the Russian Government launched a fishing quota mechanism, under which fisheries are obliged to build either new fishing vessels in Russian shipyards or new seafood processing plants. A competition for investment projects has also been announced. At the start of 2018, the winners of the competition will be awarded long-term licenses to fish the Russian Far East for more than 500,000 tonnes annually of the most in-demand seafood resources on the Asia-Pacific market. Which aquatic bioresources will be represented under the investment obligations, and how can interested parties become participants in the investment project competition? In which Russian shipyards can the construction of new fishing vessels be ordered? Do these have sufficient capacity to satisfy fishing industry demand, and would it be forward-looking to build new shipyards? Where in the Russian Far East the construction of seafood processing plants bring the greatest benefit? The economics of investment projects for seafood processing in the Russian Far East – what role will be played by the SEZ program and the Free Port?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Vladivostok, City of Diamonds: The Start of Gem-Cutting

      The Russian Far East is a global leader in rough diamond production. The macroregion contains 81% of the diamond deposits present in the Asia-Pacific region. However, nearly every rough diamond mined is exported and cut in another country. In 2016, the Eurasian Diamond Centre was opened in Vladivostok to provide infrastructure for launching new gem-cutting and jewellery manufacturing facilities. 2017 saw the launch of the first investment projects for diamond production and jewellery manufacture. Alrosa has announced the start of a program to provide financial assistance to diamond cutters. What are the factors that determine the global competitiveness of a location for attracting investment in diamond-cutting? How can the Russian Far East succeed in competing for investors in this sector? How will the program of financial support for diamond cutters operate? What impact could cancelling duties and other financial restrictions have on Russian diamond-cutting enterprises and their investors? Could Russian diamonds as an international brand provide a competitive advantage for Russian diamond cutters?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Mariculture: Establishing a New Sector in the Russian Far East

      According to the estimates of scientists from the Russian National Scientific Centre of Marine Biology, more than 2 million hectares of the marine area of the Russian Far East are suitable for the cultivation of mariculture products which are especially valuable and sought-after on Asia-Pacific markets. Only 1% of this area is presently used by business for these purposes. In 2017 the Russian Government introduced new procedures for making marine areas in the Russian Far East available to marine farmers. Marine plots will be created in response to applications made by interested investors using a specialized Internet service, and distributed by electronic auction. It is planned that 100% of available marine plots will be provided for the use of business by 2020. In which regions of the Seas of Japan and Okhotsk can marine aquaculture be developed? How is the Internet service used to establish marine plots for aquaculture? What supportive measures is the government making available for marine farmers?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Airports. A New List of Projects

      A full range of private investment projects to modernize airports is being implemented in the Russian Far East. The most successful of these is Vladivostok International Airport, now owned by an international consortium of investors comprising Basic Element, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and leading airport operator Changi Airports International (CAI). In addition, projects are being launched to build new passenger and cargo terminals for the international airports in Khabarovsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Yakutsk, and Magadan. On the request of Japanese investors, in 2016 the Russian Government introduced new regulations on the setting of long-term tariffs on airport terminal services established as part of investment projects. This will permit investors to invest in airport renovation on a long-term basis and to estimate the recoupment period for invested funds and calculate future investment incomes as precisely as possible. What mechanisms for attracting investment for airport renovation are the most effective, what models are the most promising, and what plans exist for airport development in Russia’s Far East? What are the key factors determining returns on investment in airports? How can development of airports in the Russian Far East be ensured? How can state regulations on the operation of airports be modified in order to make them more attractive to investors? Extending the free port scheme to international airports in the Russian Far East: could this make investment in infrastructure more attractive?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Sea Ports: In Good Hands

      In partnership with Port Management Company

      The 5.6 thousand miles of the Russian Far Eastern coastline are home to 32 trade and fishing seaports, as well as 300 small ports and port facilities. Together, these account for approximately 35% of all cargo turnover through Russian seaports. Technical standards at seaports in the Russian Far East do not conform to modern requirements, however. Only 19% of the total quayside length of these ports is equipped with specialized mooring installations, and only 23% of them have a depth of more than 11 metres. The degree of wear and tear on the majority of mooring installations exceeds 70%. The majority of these facilities remain in state ownership. Amendments to legislation have already been prepared which will make it possible to transfer mooring installations in Russian Far Eastern ports into private ownership. What plans exist for the development of major marine harbours in the Russian Far East? Which ports in the Russian Far East offer the most interesting investment opportunities? What impact will the transfer of quayside installations into private ownership have on the investment attractiveness of Russian Far Eastern ports? How will this mechanism operate? What economic impact have new customs clearance regulations in the Free Port of Vladivostok had on seaports? What further steps should be taken by the government to increase cargo turnover in Russian Far Eastern ports?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Russia’s Digital Far East: Finding Partners

      As a neighbour of Asia-Pacific countries which are leaders in the global economy, the Russian Far East has the opportunity to be first among Russian regions in attracting and adapting new technological solutions, developing digital skills, and laying a foundation for Russia’s future development. In order succeed, the state and companies from the private sector will need to join forces. In what sectors could a digital cluster in the Russian Far East be competitive, what partners are needed in order to create it, and how can they be attracted? What experience gathered by its ‘eastern neighbours’ – China and Japan – would be of most benefit to the Russian Far East? What can the government do to make accessible and good-quality electronic services available to the population and make the work of governmental bodies more effective? Digital and offline retail – from innovative distribution centres to the last mile to the consumer. Developing systems for electronic education – meeting technological, regulatory and infrastructural requirements Competitive digital healthcare as an instrument for improving the accessibility of medical services.
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      Tourism. An Economy Based on Unique Experiences

      Every year more than 170 million tourists from China, Japan, and South Korea travel abroad, where they spend more than $250 billion collectively. The Russian Far East possesses a unique selection of recreational resources capable of attracting a significant part of the tourist flow from the Asia-Pacific region. In order to support investment in tourism, advanced special economic zones have been created, an electronic visa was introduced in 2017 for citizens from 18 Asia-Pacific countries and the Middle East entering the Free Port of Vladivostok, entrance to Russian Far Eastern harbours has been significantly simplified for foreign cruise vessels, and special tax incentives have been introduced for tourism organizations operating in the macroregion. Investing in hotel and recreational infrastructure in the Russian Far East – where is there the greatest demand and where are the best economic prospects? How do investor support mechanisms in the tourism sector of the Russian Far East operate? What further steps can the government take to develop incoming and domestic tourism?
    • Doing Business in the Russian Far East

      How Can We Ensure an Inflow of Private Investment into Developing the Infrastructure of Russia’s Far East?

      Optimizing budget expenditure on major infrastructure projects in the Russian Far East is an important challenge facing both federal ministries and regional administrations. Public-private partnership (PPP) projects are already being implemented in eight out of the nine regions in the Far Eastern Federal District: 324 projects altogether, representing total private investment of RUB 57 billion. At the same time, the additional investment that needs to be attracted in order to develop and modernize public infrastructure in the Russian Far East is estimated in the hundreds of billions. According to a number of experts, available private capital for financing infrastructure projects is in the region of RUB 700 billion. However, investors often disregard PPP mechanisms due to a lack of well-structured projects. At the present time, only 15–20% of the total number of PPP projects initiated progress from the idea stage to implementation. This is linked first and foremost with a lack of preliminary planning, which requires considerable labour and financial resources. As a result, promising projects which have enormous significance for their local regions and are potentially interesting to investors never make it off the page. Which regions in the Far Eastern Federal District are ‘open’ to private investment in PPP projects? Who has created the right conditions for projects to be launched? In which regions are the most effective measures for stimulating investment being applied? What are the barriers to attracting private investment into regional infrastructure?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      ‘Russia’s Gateway to Asia’: the Role of the Russian Far East in Asia-Pacific Integration Initiatives

      Asia today is growing ever more self-reliant, and, accordingly, more closed-off externally and more open and competitive internally as a market. Other EAEU countries can gain access to this market via the Russian Far East. To safeguard its own interests to the greatest extent possible, it is important for the region to take on a proactive role, cooperating with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) in two key international areas of its activity in the coming years: coupling together the EAEU and the Belt and Road initiative, and concluding free trade agreements with partners in the Asia-Pacific region. The Russian Far East is the part of both Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union which is situated directly in the Asia-Pacific region, and taking its interests into consideration is vital when building a long-term format for relations with countries of the region. What needs does the Russian Far East have with respect to integration processes in the Asia-Pacific region? How far are the sides prepared to go on the question of creating a free trade zone? To what extent would this be in the interests of the Russian Far East? Could the ‘coupling’ be open for other regional partners to join? Where do participants view a role for the institutions of the EAEU, and where can there be bilateral tracks within the ‘coupling’? How can investment in the Russian Far East be stimulated using free trade zones?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      The Export Potential of the Russian Far East. Meeting Growing Demand in the Asia-Pacific Region

      One of the key challenges posed by the creation of favourable conditions for investment in the Russian Far East lies in establishing a system for delivering regional goods to the rapidly expanding markets of the Asia-Pacific region; in particular, to markets in which the consumer represents the major economic class of modern Asia – the urban middle class. Here, the Russian Far East is in competition, not only with national Asian producers, but also with companies from the USA and Europe who have already been exporting to these markets for some time. These export competitors already enjoy the support of their Asian partners and their governments, through chambers of commerce and export-import banks. These invest directly in information, networking with Asian regulatory bodies, engaging Asian experts to do outreach work with exporters, and assisting exporters by organizing industry and marketing research in their interests. A full range of tools are used by the government in support of exports. What barriers are hindering the export of goods from the Russian Far East? How can a support system for exports from the Russian Far East be formed on a governmental and intergovernmental level? What are the most effective channels for promoting export-oriented goods produced in the Russian Far East? What role could be played by electronic platforms? How can a marketing strategy for Russian Far Eastern goods be implemented, and a ‘Made in the Russian Far East’ brand be created to promote them on foreign markets?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Competitive Customs Regulation: Best Practices in the Asia-Pacific Region

      Russia has taken unprecedented steps in recent years to implement specialized regulations targeted at the development of the Russian Far East. Many of the practices being applied in state regulation are unique for Russia. A range of measures for simplifying customs procedures are presently being implemented in the advanced special economic zones and in the Free Port of Vladivostok, but in the face of strong competition for investors from the Asia-Pacific region these may prove insufficient. What practical results have been achieved thanks to the introduction of special customs regulations in the advanced special social and economic zones and in the Free Port of Vladivostok? Do the new customs instruments reflect the successful practices of Asia-Pacific region countries? What promising new technologies make it possible to increase the efficiency of customs operations and reduce administrative burden on foreign trade operators? What next steps should be taken to improve customs regulation mechanisms?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Connecting Europe and Asia. International Transport Corridors in the Russian Far East

      An important project for realizing the transit potential of the Russian Far East is the development of the international transport corridors ‘Primorye 1’ and ‘Primorye 2’, linking the north-eastern provinces of China with ports in the south of Primorsky Territory. The potential total cargo base of these is estimated at around 45 million tonnes annually. It is the objective of both countries’ governments to make the transit of cargo through these corridors ‘seamless’ and competitive. Between 2016 and 2017, Russia for its part has adopted a full range of practical solutions for creating attractive conditions for cargo transit via international transport corridors: a 24-hour regime has been introduced for checkpoint operation together with simplified and fast-tracked customs control procedures designated for seaports rather than the land border. What action is the Chinese side taking to develop these corridors? When and under what conditions will the construction of new infrastructure for the international transport corridors begin? How will support for investors from both countries be realized as investment projects for the development of transport corridors are implemented? What measures must be taken to create a ‘seamless’ regime, reduce transport costs for shippers, and lower expenses and customs clearance times for transit cargo?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Smart Energy: Balancing Demand with Capacity. New Projects

      In partnership with En+ Group

      The major revolutionary breakthroughs of the last 300 years have been possible thanks to the discovery of new kinds of fuel. Starting with hydropower during the industrial revolution, it was then the turn of hydrocarbon-based fuels: coal, oil, and gas – and now the world awaits the full arrival of renewable energy sources. But today the development of IT and technology is creating colossal opportunities for optimizing how we use energy and increasing energy efficiency – and it’s entirely possible that the results could amount to a new energy revolution. What is the present demand from the world economy for new energy technologies? What impact will big data, machine learning and other ‘smart’ technologies have on this highly traditional sector of the economy? Could the Russian Far East become a ‘smart’ energy hub for the Asia-Pacific region? What would be needed in order to achieve this, and what is the realistic potential of Russia’s Far East taking into consideration its numerous competitive neighbours who are already engaging actively with the smart energy era?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      The Potential of the Northern Sea Route. From Words to Actions

      The Northern Sea Route is the shortest sea route from Asia to Europe, and experts estimate that by 2050 it will be passable for non-ice reinforced vessels all year round. Taking this into consideration, it is strategically advisable at this point to begin developing the Northern Sea Route for purposes other than simply the transport of natural resources from the Arctic zone, or ‘northern deliveries’. In 2016, a model for establishing a regular Arctic container line using the Northern Sea Route was developed. The niche which will be filled by the Northern Sea Route relates to container cargo transit between the ports of North-East Asia (China, Japan, and South Korea) and those of Northern Europe (Rotterdam, Hamburg, and others), for which it is preferable to a southern route. Around 455,000 TEUs of container cargo traffic currently have transit paths for which use of the Northern Sea Route would provide a significant advantage to the shipper. An optimal logistics scheme has been developed for a regular Arctic container line: transit will be conducted between two port hubs in the cities of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Murmansk using ice-class container ships, with additional feeder lines to end-ports in Europe or Asia. How can participation in the joint development of the Northern Sea Route be made attractive to China, Japan, and South Korea? Would there be merit in establishing a joint venture to manage a regular Arctic container line? How can competitive conditions for container cargo transit via the Northern Sea Route be ensured? Could investment in Northern Sea Route infrastructure be made profitable in the long term?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Healthcare Investment in the Asia-Pacific Region: The Economic and Social Impact

      Accessible healthcare services for all sectors of the population is the most important principle of inclusive economic growth in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, together with income equality, accessible education, and environmental protection. In investing in healthcare, business is interested in returns, and the government in extending the life expectancy of its citizens, as well as their working lives, and accelerating the pace of economic growth. How is a balance between the interests of the private sector and the state ensured in healthcare in Asia-Pacific region countries? What are the key trends in healthcare development in the Asia-Pacific region? How can the Russian Far East make use of the concrete advantages of Asia-Pacific healthcare systems for its own development?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Competitive Law and the International Arbitration Centre in the Russian Far East

      Guarantees for the protection of ownership rights, together with access to effective channels for resolving disputes with counterparties, are of significant importance in the decision as to whether to expand a business into a particular region. The examples of Hong Kong and Singapore show that the presence of systems of competition law and independent centres of arbitration in these jurisdictions has been an important factor in the development of Asian economic centres. Could the Free Port of Vladivostok repeat the successes of Hong Kong and Singapore in establishing systems for competition law and arbitration? And if so, how can this be achieved? How should a new arbitration centre in Vladivostok go about winning the confidence of of Russian and international investors? Could it be possible to establish an Asian axis of arbitration linking Vladivostok, Beijing, Hong-Hong and Singapore?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      New Technologies in the Asia-Pacific Financial Sector. How Blockchain is Transforming Reality

      Perhaps nowhere more than in the financial sector do trust and the availability of intermediary chains play such a crucial role. Blockchain technology is potentially able to replace both, and to increase drastically the productivity in the sector. Recent direct investment in this area has amounted to nearly USD 2 billion, with more than 500 companies emerging. On the other hand, no breakthroughs have been seen yet, except for virtual currency ones. The key to the success of blockchain technology is the definition and harmonization of common standards as a key prerequisite. As no such common standards have been found and instated yet, there is a window of opportunity for the Asia-Pacific region. Once the standard is defined, everybody will follow the leader. By choosing a relevant direction for itself and combining and coordinating its efforts, the region could set a sufficient impetus for establishing a worldwide standard and achieving further dissemination and adoption of blockchain technology. How does blockchain technology affect the financial sector, and what realistic potential does it offer? What role can Russia and its Far East play in the development of blockchain technology? What are the success factors, and what is the model for international interaction and management?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      The Asian Energy Ring. Are Politicians and Energy Companies Ready?

      Current and projected energy demand in the Asia-Pacific region is enormous. At the same time, in many countries of the region it is precisely a lack of access to energy which is acting as a brake on continued high growth rates. The launch of huge international energy projects is a key global trend. Projects like these help to address the disparity in access to energy resources, to calm price volatility, and to achieve political stability and economic development in the world’s macroregions. To ensure comprehensive integration of these projects and to create a new configuration of connected energy networks, it is essential to set up a single technological platform for the electricity grid. Digital transformation, standardization, and ensuring a new level of energy security are all vital conditions for this. These challenges create a far-reaching opportunity to carry out scientific research in the field of electricity transmission, to establish new standards for managing a new-generation network, to ensure the integration of different sources of generation and smart users, and to provide cyber security. Science could become a key driver behind the creation of a platform for integrated energy networks in North-East Asia. The establishment of an Asian super-ring connecting Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, and possibly additional countries has the potential to solve many of the problems threatening sustainable development in the region, and could lead to enduring, mutually beneficial collaboration, not only in energy, but in a number of other sectors as well. What regulatory changes are necessary in order for such a project to be realized? Do the economic implications surrounding existing electricity transmission technologies make projects to integrate energy networks in North-East Asia viable, or is it vital to invent new, groundbreaking technologies? To what extent should technological solutions for integrated energy networks be standardized? What is the economic viability of implementing such a project, and what financial models have been used to implement similar projects?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Increasing Academic Mobility in the Asia-Pacific Region

      The intensification in transnational flows of information, capital, and technology has created a situation in which labour markets and educational services have expanded beyond their own national borders. In the last decades, practically all developed countries have implemented numerous reforms to their education systems, including in their porgrammes such crucial components as internationalization, and investing enormous financial resources into them. In this context, it is in the interests of practically all Asia-Pacific region countries to invest in a more forward-looking strategy to development human resource potential in the region. What strategies for internationalization at institutions of higher learning in the Asia-Pacific region appear the most forward-looking? Is it possible to identify universal mechanisms for developing internationalization in higher education which can be applied just as effectively to the region as a whole? What are the most acute obstacles to developing academic mobility? The challenges and prospects of establishing a single educational space in the region. Experience from mutual recognition of educational courses and diplomas.
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      The Fight Against Social Inequality and Polarization in Countries of the Asia-Pacific Region

      The risks arising from growing social inequality have been discussed by international experts for a number of years. On the basis of UN data for 2017, it is clear that social inequality is far more pronounced than anyone had assumed: 3.6 billion people on the planet lack the basic essentials and many cannot afford to go to school or to visit the doctor. Reducing the scale of social inequality in the Asia-Pacific region will be of crucial importance in achieving the objective of reducing social inequality at the international level. What policies for reducing social inequality are being pursued by the countries of the Asia-Pacific region in order to protect disadvantaged groups? What programmes and ideas for reducing social polarization have already been implemented? Will these prove effective in the long-term? If not, what urgent steps must be taken?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Pandemic Preparedness as a Condition of Sustainable Economic Growth in the Asia-Pacific Region

      The Asia-Pacific region is one of the most vulnerable to the threat of pandemic. The spread of infection has an impact on many sectors, including trade, investment, tourism, medicine, and scientific and technological cooperation. Losses caused by new (highly pathogenic influenza, the Zika virus, coronavirus) and well known (HIV/AIDS, dengue fever, malaria) infections in a region can amount to billions of dollars, but they can be avoided. To make this possible, rapidly growing economic and social links in the region should be accompanied by investment in strengthening epidemic warning and reaction systems, and in developing intergovernmental cooperation on a regional level. This will reduce the negative effects of pandemics on the economy and the progress of integration processes, and increase investment attractiveness.
      The key to increasing preparedness and the ability to react to a pandemic in the Asia-Pacific region lies in political commitment to cooperation in this area, developing collaboration between healthcare services, and scientific and technological cooperation in research and development to identify new means of diagnosing and preventing infection. Is the Asia-Pacific region prepared for the next pandemic? What weak points are there in existing systems for controlling epidemics in the region? Would it be possible to create a single international epidemic warning and reaction system in the region? What could Russia and other regional states contribute to the creation of such a system? What are the priorities for scientific and technological cooperation between countries of the region in order to increase readiness to deal with the threat of infection? Inclusive investment: what stimuli exist to encourage the private sector to invest in healthcare and scientific and technological cooperation to counter epidemics in the Asia-Pacific region?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Partnership for Greater Eurasia: Expanding a Future-Oriented Joint Development Space

      The Eurasian continent is becoming a flagship example of regional integration – integration focused primarily on the interests of the countries of Greater Eurasia. Developments are taking place in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC), the ‘One Belt – One Road’ economic cooperation system, the initiatives being implemented by ASEAN countries, and the South Asia cooperation programme run under the aegis of India. Ensuring synergy rather than competition between Eurasian projects could advance the interests of all the continent’s nations. This is exactly the idea of the Eurasian Economic Partnership (EEP), or Greater Eurasia: building a space for joint development by creating an economic relations system that takes account of the interests of all of its participants without being tied to the signing of any one collective agreement in particular. How and by what means can the EEP be created? To what extent can the EEP serve as a common cooperation framework on the one hand, and act as a platform for using specific trade and investment mechanisms on the other? What benefits can the establishment of the EEP bring to the region’s countries? How can the experience gained from the success of multilateral trade agreements and pending projects initiated by mega-regional trading blocs be taken into account in the formation of the EEP? What balance between liberalization and protectionism today best meets the interests of EEP member countries and their partners?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      The Russia–China–Japan–US Quadrangle: are there Opportunities for Cooperation?

      Valdai Club Session

      A session devoted to discussing new opportunities for multilateral cooperation in Asia. The context for such a discussion is provided by the continuation of ‘Russia’s turn to the East’, changes in USA regional and global policy, the strengthening of the multifaceted partnership between Russia and China, and the spirit of cooperation pervading Russian-Japanese relations. Although contradictions and disagreements on important issues exist between the countries of the Asian region, Asia should not be allowed to become a region divided by zones of influence and competition between groupings of states. The refusal of the USA to participate in projects regarded by the previous administration as a means of containing China and, in part, Russia, could open up new opportunities for multilateral cooperation. Russia needs to further strengthen its position in Asia through collaboration with all of the important players in the region, and to engage them in projects to develop the Russian Far East and deepen its integration into regional and global markets. It is the relationships that exist within the Russia-China-USA-Japan quadrangle that could eventually become a basis for cooperation and coordination of interests which is beneficial to all. A practical agenda for such cooperation must be formed now, through substantive discussion of its participants’ approaches to the political and economic development of Asia and the world as a whole.
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Russia’s Pivot to the East: Outcomes and New Goals

      TV Debates of Russia 24 and the Valdai Discussion Club

      ‘Russia’s Turn to the East’ has taken place. This is true both in an international respect - both political and economic – and, more importantly, internally, with measures for the development of Siberia and the Russian Far East, with the creation of the conditions for integrating them into the Asian and European markets. At the same time, Russia is diversifying its links with Asia – the number of highly important partners with which it is strengthening its relations already includes a large group of countries – China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam. In a changing global environment, it is vital for Russia to build cooperation with its Asian partners. It is equally important that leading European, and perhaps also American players, should be ‘hitched’ to cooperative relationships between Russia, Asia, and Eurasia, both on a state and on a corporate level.
      A programme of action is needed which will strengthen Russia’s position in Asia and create a critical mass of collaboration and cooperation. This must be achieved first and foremost in economic terms, in order to make the country a fully-fledged Atlantic-Pacific power of the future. It is likewise important now to confirm Russia’s negotiating position – what do we want from our partners? It is vital that we address our partners in Asia with a clear and precise message, indicating what areas and topics in our relations with them are optimal for Russia from the point of view of the challenges posed by her internal development.
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      World Intellectual Property Organization Global Services. International Registration Systems

      Seminar

      The developing global economy is determining a new trend in the submission of applications to register objects of intellectual property, and confronting rights holders with the issue of expanding the geographical scope of their legal protection. The need to protect intellectual property rights simultaneously in several countries is creating a requirement for convenient and economical mechanisms for registering intellectual property objects and managing them throughout the world. Is it possible to protect objects of intellectual property in a large number of countries by submitting just one international application? Is it possible to pay a single set of fees in order to receive immediate protection in many countries? The seminar will present international systems for registering inventions, trademarks, and industrial designs: the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Madrid Agreement, and the Hague Agreement. Who can benefit from the PCT and the Madrid and Hague systems? What are the advantages of using these frameworks? Does a single, centralized system for trademarks exist? The seminar will also present global intellectual property databases and tools for a knowledge-based economy, as well as alternative options for settling intellectual property disputes. How well developed is the global intellectual property infrastructure? Aside from legal proceedings, what options are available for settling disputes over intellectual rights?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Logistics in Russia and Asia-Pacific Interconnect under China’s Belt and Road Initiative

      China is moving its Belt and Road initiative from a framework discussion phase to tangible projects, establishing the preconditions for the development of routes across Russia, efforts in which major players in the Russian transport industry are actively involved. Sino-Russian cooperation in this area is supported by the two countries’ heads of state, who signed a joint declaration on cooperation to connect the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt. Freight owners in Asia-Pacific countries currently spend up to USD 1 billion per year on transporting freight by sea (bypassing Russia). If Russian and Chinese transport companies begin offering cheaper and more convenient services, up to 30% of freight could be transported by land across China and Russia rather than be sea. How should Russia make the most of the opportunities presented by China’s Belt and Road initiative? What action is already being taken by market players to develop the country’s transit potential, such as overland routes along the Trans-Siberian Railway? What limiting factors are currently preventing freight traffic in Asia-Pacific countries, like China, from being connected to Russian transit routes? What steps need to be taken by the Chinese and Russian governments in the near future to create conditions that will foster increased cooperation in this area?
    • We Are Neighbours: Earning through Cooperation

      Cooperation on Cybersecurity – a Key Requirement for the Development of the Asia-Pacific Economy

      Seminar

      The economy of the Russian Far East is linked in many ways with those of the Asia-Pacific countries – China, Japan, and Korea. These are technologically developed countries with a relatively high level of digitalization, for which tackling cybersecurity risks are a high priority. Today’s cyber threats (malware, phishing, attacks by hackers) present an equally grave danger to the entire region, yet different countries demonstrate different levels of preparedness to resist these threats, and have implemented widely varying countermeasures. Taking into account the global nature of the cyber threat and the movement towards greater cooperation in all sectors of the economy, including those where high-tech is employed (finance, energy, education, and law), it is essential that the countries of the Asia-Pacific region combine their efforts in the fight against cybercrime – most importantly, by organizing an exchange of data between private companies, government bodies, and countries as a whole. What must be done to organize such an exchange in the Asia-Pacific region? What legal measures must be adopted at a local and international level? What technologies should be implemented and employed? What special bodies should be established? How can trust between business and government be improved so that the two can exchange information about cyber incidents without fear of incurring heavy fines and data leaks through vulnerabilities in the existing infrastructure?
    • The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges

      Creating 100,000 New Jobs. Challenges and Solutions

      By 2025, 100,000 new jobs will have been created at new enterprises in the Russian Far East, and 70% of them will be for qualified specialists. It will be impossible to fill these positions using only the region’s 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 the employers’ requirements. The employment market in the Russian Far East: status and developmental trends. How is the government helping to attract more people to come and work in the region? Labour mobility programme 2.0: how will the new measures stimulate migration to the region? Job rotation – a potential way to lay down roots?
    • The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges

      Comprehensive Development of Cities. Initial Plans: Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Svobodny

      New points of economic growth in the Russian Far East will not provide the anticipated effect if we do not simultaneously ensure the comprehensive development of the areas surrounding them – this includes building housing, nurseries, schools, medical facilities, and cultural centres. Initial experience relating to a new government approach to comprehensive urban development in the Russian Far East comes in the form of long-term plans to develop the towns of Komsomolsk-on-Amur (Khabarovsk Territory) and Svobodny (Amur Region); these focus the efforts of all key agencies and state companies on creating a qualitatively new environment in these towns, including a comfortable and accessible social, utilities, transport, and energy infrastructure and modern public spaces. What have been the initial results of applying this new approach to urban development in the Russian Far East? What new solutions and tools must be implemented at the federal level in order to ensure the comprehensive development of towns in the Russian Far East? In which other towns in the Russian Far East will urban development be prioritized as a task of federal importance?
    • The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges

      Solutions from Russian State Companies. The Far Eastern Priority

      State companies are making a significant contribution to forward-looking development in the Russian Far East. A key objective for these companies, aside from profitability, is solving the challenges faced by the state. One such challenge is improving the quality of life of inhabitants of the Russian Far East. Many of Russia’s leading state companies are currently implementing specialized solutions in the region. Will Aeroflot’s so-called ‘flat’ tariff on destinations in the Russian Far East be maintained and extended? What other measures can the company offer to support the mobility of people in the region? Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending (AHML): has lowering rates on mortgage programmes for residents of the Russian Far East proven effective? In what other ways could the organization ensure affordable housing in the Russian Far East as part of this programme? How can Rostelecom help to eliminate the digital divide in the Russian Far East? What else can other state companies do to accelerate development in the region?
    • The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges

      Developing Borderland Territories in the Russian East: Opportunities and Challenges

      Their geostrategic location and existing economic potential of their natural environment make the border regions of the Russian Far East stand out as the most attractive regions for investment and economic activity. At the present time, these regions are home to the majority of ASEZs, and a free port regime is in operation. Major cross-border transport infrastructure will be completed in 2018–2019. With limited local budgets, how can authorities keep pace with economic processes while ensuring that the local population, the incoming workforce and visitors to the border regions have access to high-quality infrastructure and public services in a timely manner? Are government support measures for geopolitically important regions sufficient? What steps need to be taken to activate cross-border cooperation as a driver for the development of border regions?
    • The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges

      Integrated Development in the Russian Far East: Creating a Comfortable Living Environment

      An integrated approach is the key link in achieving forward-looking development in the regions of the Russian Far East. Concentrating resources in ‘growth points’, measures to reduce imbalances in quality of life, achieving more equal levels of socioeconomic development, and overcoming the limitations of infrastructure are the main challenges when it comes to formulating integrated development plans for the nine regions of the Russian Far East. What are the trends in regional development, as viewed through the prism of the recently formed ‘growth points’? What government support measures are already in place and in use, and what additional mechanisms are required to implement this plan? What needs to be done now in order to create a safe and comfortable living space for human potential to be fully realized, strengthened and grow within the regions of the Russian Far East? How are plans for regional development interlinked, and will they create an overall picture of development in the Russian Far East?
    • The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges

      Talent in the Russian Far East: To Import or Nurture?

      The effectiveness of talent management is today taking on an ever greater significance for the global competitiveness of a country. In Russia, a range of strategic programs are being implemented to develop talent for participation in efforts to upgrade the country’s scientific and technological base, launching businesses on new markets, and the digital economy. The Russian Far East should not remain on the sidelines as solutions to these challenges are put into effect, and has its own part to play in Russia’s national strategy. The Russian Far East is a territory of great challenges. The very opportunity created by these for self-realization in difficult circumstances could become the ‘business card’ used by the region to attract talent. What role could the Russian Far East play in Russia’s national talent management strategy? Which of the challenges posed by the Russian Far East are on a grand enough scale to attract Russia’s most talented young people? In what way should the Russian Far East participate in global competition for talent?
    • The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges

      The Development of Human Capital as a Critical Factor in Successfully Modernizing Single-Industry Towns

      The Russian Government first began implementing its priority programme to promote the integrated development of single-industry towns in July 2016. The programme encompasses 319 cities in 60 regions of the Russian Federation across eight federal districts. Under the direction of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the programme is expected to reach the following target indicators by the end of 2018:
      Create more than 200,000 jobs not connected with the major city employer;
      Attract investment in fixed assets amounting to RUB 317 billion;
      Significant improvements to the quality of the urban environment.
      Who are the leaders of change in these new times? How are these teams working with social communities in these cities? What goals are the teams setting for working with human capital? Which best regional and international practices for developing human capital could be of use in single-industry towns? The battle for the best specialists: are cities, regions, and businesses allies or competitors? Which regional development institutes could assist the single-industry town teams? How could training programmes help the teams? Why do the teams themselves require effective training?
    • The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges

      The City of the Future: Strategies for Development

      Raising the level of comfort of the urban environment and improving quality of life is a priority for all Russian cities today. The concept of a comfortable urban environment is multifaceted and encompasses numerous complex topics, such as the quality of transport infrastructure, approaches to the development of various sectors of the economy, and creating the conditions needed to facilitate the growth of high-tech industries. Issues concerning the comprehensive improvement of urban amenities and achieving a balance between areas of different functional designation also play an important role in creating a city suited to life, work and recreation. Vladivostok is set to become a leading force in the development of the Russian Far East’s transport and infrastructure sector. The prerequisites are already in place for this to happen: a favourable geographic location, proximity to developed regional economies, the infrastructure needed for the city to implement various projects, and essential scientific institutions. To achieve this objective, a strategic development document needs to be drawn up – one which will facilitate finding a balance between the needs of the city’s residents, local government, regional businesses, and major corporations. Such an interdisciplinary document should operate as a master plan to solve a set of tasks. What should these tasks consist of? Can strategic master planning serve as a fundamental tool for initiating comprehensive urban development? What is the international practice of implementing master plans? What roles are the city’s residents, government, and the professional and business communities expected to play? What specific features affect urban planning in Russia? Is the Russian urban planning regulatory framework ready for the introduction of strategic planning documents? What changes are set to be made to Vladivostok’s development strategy? What is the planning horizon, and what steps should the federal and regional governments take to implement the strategy?
    • The Russian Far East: Creating a New Quality of Life by Responding to Challenges

      Environmental Consequences of Emergency Situations: Topical Problems and How to Solve Them

      Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations is taking active steps to implement a set of measures aimed at improving day-to-day safety for the population and businesses alike, and developing modern approaches to increase the effectiveness of measures to protect people and territories from emergency situations, including those carrying environmental consequences. An important area of focus is international cooperation on issues regarding environmental safety and dealing with the aftermath of environmental disasters. What trends, both in Russia and worldwide, can be observed in mitigating the impact of environmental disasters on the national economy? What is the role and significance of international cooperation in combating the environmental consequences of disasters? How does effective coordination between different ministries and agencies result in mitigating the environmental impact of natural disasters?
    • Demographic Policy. New Residents in the Far East

      Healthcare for People. What Will Be Done?

      The sociological surveys indicate that healthcare issues are a primary cause of concern among residents of the Russian Far East. Many indicators in this area are worse than the Russian average. The healthcare gap between the region and neighbouring countries is greater still. In order to answer this challenge, the healthcare system of the Russian Far East must make primary healthcare equally accessible to the urban and rural population, attract a qualified medical workforce, implement innovative methods for organizing primary care and the prevention and treatment of disease, and create a new medical infrastructure. This will require a special government approach to planning healthcare development in the Russian Far East. What are the priorities for healthcare development in the Russian Far East in order to achieve the goals of increasing the population and life expectancy of the region? In what areas could the Russian Far East become a driver of innovative development in Russian healthcare? In what ways is healthcare cooperation with neighbouring countries currently developing? What is the Russian Ministry of Healthcare doing to ensure advanced healthcare development in the Russian Far East?
    • Discussion Talk Show Far East Economy 2030

      World Festival of Youth and Students Session

      Young people are the guarantee of future development of the country. Their vision is fundamental in forming the development strategy for the Russian economy over the next 25 years. The boisterous technological advancement and recent breakthroughs promptthe global community to seek ways to adapt to structural change in the economy, social sector, etc. New industrialization makes us all think: what will the Russian economy look like in 2030, what are the development prospects for the global economy, and what place will the Far East have in it, what economic model will prevail in the future, which trends are shaping it now, and which challenges will the economy of the Far East have to face? To answer these questions, we need to understand which benchmarks should be prioritized to meet the requirements of society, the family and the state. The position of young people through the lens of the volatile environment will help identify the dimension for advanced economic development of the Far East, while retaining national self-identity.
    • Demographic Policy. New Residents in the Far East

      Housing and Utilities. What Will Be Done?

      People residing in the Russian Far East place housing-related problems as one of their top concerns. The cost of housing and utility services in the Russian Far East is significantly higher than the national average, although the quality is lower. A large proportion of available housing is dilapidated or even hazardous. The unsatisfactory housing situation is one of the major factors driving people to leave the region for more comfortable conditions in other parts of the country. By modernizing urban infrastructure, demographic and socioeconomic development in the Russian Far East could get a significant new boost. The appearance and comfort levels of towns and cities in this region have become an important factor in the competition for human capital, especially when it comes to the most active sector of the population – young specialists. It is for this reason that in 2017, ensuring high-quality housing and utility services for the population and creating a comfortable urban environment were added to the list of priority areas for strategic national development. What will be done in the Russian Far East to implement this priority project for developing housing, utilities, and the urban environment? What conditions must be created in order to attract investment into housing in the Russian Far East, including from countries in the Asia-Pacific region? What conditions are needed to enable integrated development and management of the housing and utilities infrastructure in the macroregion? How will the mortgage sector develop in the Russian Far East? What is being done by Russia’s Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities to develop the residential sector?
    • Demographic Policy. New Residents in the Far East

      Education. What Will Be Done?

      Quality of education is a major issue causing concern for residents of the Russian Far East. The number of government funded places at Far Eastern universities is shrinking, whilst universities in China, Japan, and South Korea are attracting Russian school-leavers with a higher quality of education for similar fees. The local labour market is experiencing intensive growth in demand for labour resources and a shortage of engineers and workers. At the same time, the requisite level of professional training continues to increase, while competition for highly skilled staff is escalating. How can these challenges be addressed? What should the priorities for developing education infrastructure be, given the scale of the challenge involved in accelerating development in the Russian Far East? What solutions must be adopted at the federal level in order to ensure the advanced development of the region’s education system? What is the Russian Ministry of Education and Science doing to achieve these aims?
    • Demographic Policy. New Residents in the Far East

      Culture and Art. What Will Be Done?

      A discernible feature of the Russian Far East is its remoteness from traditional spiritual and cultural centres – a remoteness which is keenly felt by its inhabitants. The lack of regional and municipal cultural institutions in the Russian Far East is keenly felt. New facilities must be built, and existing ones modernized. Full use is not being made of the potential for international cultural cooperation, and the potential of Vladivostok as an outpost of Russian culture in Asia has not been sufficiently explored. It is vital to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of regional cultural projects, on both the Russian and the international stage. What needs to be done to improve the satisfaction of residents of the Russian Far East with the quality of cultural services? Which regional points of cultural growth have been identified as priorities? What projects are set to be implemented in the near future? What is the Russian Ministry of Culture doing to develop the cultural sector in the Russian Far East?
    • Demographic Policy. New Residents in the Far East

      Sport. What Will Be Done?

      A discernible feature of the Russian Far East is its remoteness from traditional spiritual and cultural centres – a remoteness which is keenly felt by its inhabitants. The lack of regional and municipal cultural institutions in the Russian Far East is keenly felt. New facilities must be built, and existing ones modernized. Full use is not being made of the potential for international cultural cooperation, and the potential of Vladivostok as an outpost of Russian culture in Asia has not been sufficiently explored. It is vital to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of regional cultural projects, on both the Russian and the international stage. What needs to be done to improve the satisfaction of residents of the Russian Far East with the quality of cultural services? Which regional points of cultural growth have been identified as priorities? What projects are set to be implemented in the near future? What is the Russian Ministry of Culture doing to develop the cultural sector in the Russian Far East?
    • Demographic Policy. New Residents in the Far East

      Residents of the Russian Far East: A New Quality of Life and New Opportunities

      Achieving stable population growth in the country’s Far East is a strategic challenge for Russia. The concept for demographic policy in the Russian Far East adopted by the Russian Government sets the objective of increasing the population of the macroregion to 6.5 million people by 2025, and increasing life expectancy to 76 years. To achieve this, a new quality of life will need to be established across every aspect of society. This means not just exceeding the national standard for Russia, but raising it to a level that is competitive with the quality of life in neighbouring countries. This needs to be done as quickly as possible, making use of all available resources. What measures need to be taken to stop the exodus of people from the region and secure population growth? What would make the Russian Far East a comfortable and attractive place to live? What most concerns residents of the Russian Far East? Which problems need to be resolved first?
    • Business Dialogue

      Russia–ASEAN

      Throughout the 20-plus years of relations between Russia and ASEAN member states, particular attention has focused on trade. This year marks the launch of a range of projects in the Russian Far East that are being implemented with the participation of companies from ASEAN member states – in machine building, agriculture, timber processing, transport, and tourism. However, it is also crucial to concentrate on the considerable investment potential remains untapped.
      To ensure the success of projects undertaken in the Russian Far East with the participation of investors from ASEAN member states, unprecedented conditions have been put in place to ensure the highest level of convenience. The region is in a position to become a springboard for building cooperation between Russia and ASEAN countries.
      Special significance should be accorded to projects which will create a multiplier effect, joint production based on the application of cutting-edge, innovative solutions, and breakthrough technologies targeted both at the local market and for export to countries experiencing continued growth in demand for products of this kind.
      It is vitally important to give due consideration to the opportunities presented by multilateral cooperation, whereby investors from several countries participate in a single project. Success stories: what are the projects being realized in the Russian Far East by ASEAN member states? How can investors from several ASEAN countries be brought together for a single project? What barriers are currently impeding the flow of investment from ASEAN countries into the Russian Far East, and how can these be overcome? Which sectors feature the most promising projects for working together?
    • Business Dialogue

      Russia–India: Identifying New Opportunities

      In 2017, India made its first investments in the Russian Far East outside the oil and gas sector, and the first phase of a Russian–Indian cooperative venture to establish a diamond and jewellery cluster in Vladivostok is now beginning. A number of Indian companies are at an advanced stage of decision-making about investing in machine building and oil and gas extraction. Even so, business leaders from the two countries recognize that there is huge untapped potential for bilateral investment cooperation in the Russian Far East. India and Russia are ready to work together to increase their trade and economic cooperation in the Russian Far East, taking the necessary steps to achieve this and making available special conditions and incentives. In particular, as of 1 August 2017, Indian citizens can take advantage of a simplified visa regime and enter Vladivostok Free Port on an electronic visa. This will have a direct impact on the development of Russian–Indian cooperation in the Russian Far East and the flow of tourists from India into the macroregion. What projects are Indian companies already implementing in the Russian Far East, and what is the key to their success? What mechanisms and solutions could act as a catalyst for the growth of Indian investment in the Russian Far East and mutual trade? In which sectors does Russian–Indian investment cooperation have the greatest potential? What changes need to be made to the regulation of these sectors to make them attractive for Indian investors?
    • Business Dialogue

      Russia–China

      Eighty percent of investment in the Russian Far East from the Asia-Pacific region over the last two years has come from Chinese companies. Altogether, more than 20 investment projects, with a total investment value of over USD 3 billion, are being implemented in the macroregion with the participation of Chinese capital. Chinese companies have also announced plans to implement other major projects in the Russian Far East, including construction of a pulp mill and a new sea port. Intensive construction is under way on cross-border transport projects which will connect the Russian and Chinese economies and produce a large multiplier effect for regions in both countries. Within the last year, a project to develop international transport corridors has progressed to the practical stage. The corridors will link the north-eastern provinces of China with the ports of Primorsky Territory. An agreement has been signed between the relevant agencies in the two countries to create a seamless regime for the transit of Chinese cargo via the corridor. This project is a practical example of the linking of the Eurasian Economic Union with the Belt and Road initiative. In order to increase levels of trade, economic, and investment cooperation, new intergovernmental mechanisms have been developed and a Far East centre for supporting Chinese investors has been created. Which projects have already been realized in the Russian Far East with the participation of Chinese capital and have demonstrated their viability? Which are in the early phase? What are the obstacles to their implementation? What mechanisms could become additional drivers of growth in the flow of investment into the Russian Far East from China? What effects can businesses in both countries expect from the launch of the new cross-border corridors?
    • Business Dialogue

      Russia–Republic of Korea

      Investors from the Republic of Korea are increasing their commitments in regions of the Russian Far East, and discovering for themselves the new investment support mechanisms that are available in the macroregion. The majority of Korean projects are concentrated in the seafood and agroindustrial sectors. At the same time, such projects account for less than 1% of foreign investment into the Russian Far East from Asia-Pacific countries in the last two years. Investors have yet to discover the potential for investment cooperation that exists in such sectors as mineral extraction, logistics, tourism, energy, cutting-edge technology, and medicine. The window of opportunity opening up in relations between Russia and the Republic of Korea is making it possible for this potential to be realized more quickly, and for work to begin on major projects which can benefit business in both countries, such as the construction of a container line for the Northern Sea Route. Moreover, the prerequisites for a sizeable increase in trade turnover will be met by a free trade agreement between Russia and South Korea which is currently under discussion. What is obstructing the flow of Korean investment into the Russian Far East? What solutions does business need from the governments of the two countries in order to operate with confidence in the macroregion? How does Korean business rate the competitiveness of conditions for investing and doing business in the Russian Far East? What experience can South Korea draw on in the Russian Far East to improve the investment climate? Are Russian and Korean businesses interested in implementing megaprojects such as the development of the Northern Sea Route and the creation of an Asian energy ring? What are Russian and Korean businesses expecting from a free trade agreement between Russia and Korea?
    • Business Dialogue

      Russia–Japan

      One year on from the launch of joint work on an eight-point plan for economic cooperation proposed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, it is possible to speak of a significant uptick in cooperation between businesses in the two countries. Discussions on joint investment projects in the oil and gas sector, agriculture, healthcare, and infrastructure have entered the practical stage. Many of these projects are connected with the Russian Far East. Negotiations have intensified between Russian and Japanese companies on the construction of a gas pipeline and a maritime energy bridge to supply electricity to Japan. Companies are especially interested in collaboration on renewable energy projects. In accordance with a Russian Government decision, from 1 August 2017, visa entry for Japanese citizens entering Vladivostok Free Port will be simplified (by the introduction of electronic visas). This will not only make it easier to do business, but also facilitate the continuing growth in tourist flows from Japan to the Russian Far East. In order to increase Japanese investment in the Russian Far East, a special company has been created jointly with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. What projects are already being implemented by Japanese companies in the Russian Far East? What is the key to the success of these projects? What misgivings are preventing Japanese companies from investing in the Russian Far East? How can their confidence be strengthened? Which sectors are the most promising? What improvements are required in each sector from a regulatory point of view?