CHITA, June 16. /TASS/. The Trans-Baikal Territory in East Siberia has signed a letter of intent with China’s Huae Sinban, under which the Chinese company plans to invest about 24 billion rubles ($440 million) in local agribusiness development, the regional government’s press office said on Tuesday.
"The letter of intent has no legal force and is needed by the investor as confirmation that the Russian side is ready for cooperation," a source in the Trans-Baikal administration said.
"Under the letter of intent, the sides will start studying the prospects of the project implementation, assess the expediency, risks and terms of cooperation," he added.
Under the letter of intent, the Chinese company will take uncultivated agricultural lands, unused pastures and hayfields on long-term lease, the regional administration said.
"We’re talking only about the lease of some sites in several districts of the region on a total area of 115,000 hectares. This area may increase in the future," the regional administration’s representative said.
The Chinese company now needs to sign lease agreements with the landowners. "This is not a quick process. The negotiations, land marking and the preparation of documents will take more than two or three months," he said.
The heads of the Trans-Baikal Territory’s districts have said it is necessary to assess the prospects for municipalities to participate in the project, identify places for its implementation and hold public hearings with rural residents.
"If positive decisions are taken by all the participants, the issue of the project’s practical implementation will be raised and cooperation agreements will be signed," the regional administration’s press office said.
"As a mandatory condition of the agreements, newly-established enterprises will be required to register for tax purposes at the places of their activity and also it is required to create modern, competitive crop-growing, livestock breeding and processing facilities based on environmentally friendly technologies," the press office said.
The share of local workforce is expected to be no less than 75% of new jobs.