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Russia’s Far East is attractive for Asian investors

March 20, 2014, 16:48 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
Mazda CX-5 production in Vladivostok

Mazda CX-5 production in Vladivostok

© ITAR-TASS/ Yury Smityuk

MOSCOW, March 20. /ITAR-TASS/. In the promising plans for development of the Far East, Russia is focused on cooperation with the Asia-Pacific countries. Asian investors, including those in Japan, are interested in the Far East. Generally speaking, in the current complicated international situation Asian counterparts seem to be more constructive, Russian officials say.

In 2015, the Far East’s Amur region may organize a special economic zone in agriculture, which would be focused on Asian investors, and first of all on those from Japan, head of the Russian special economic zones authority Vadim Tretyakov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

The Far East, where soils are clear from fertilizers, is very attractive for Asian investors, he said.

“Asian countries value ecologically clear products. Formerly they used many fertilizers, which killed the soil in their countries. Our Far East is very different in that.” He continued saying Japanese companies had made tests of the soil in the Far East and were satisfied with the results. This year, Japanese businesses will make test supplies of products harvested in the Far East to their market.

As yet, Russia has been considering organization of one zone in the Amur region. “At the beginning we negotiated with Japan. By now, we had meetings with every other country in the region, and we have received many interesting suggestions from China, Korea and Singapore.”

Russia’s interests are first of all in attracting investments, technologies and in new jobs. “There have been voices claiming we give out the land to Japan. Well, first of all, not giving out but renting. Secondly, we are not speaking about agricultural lands. Those are areas for construction of processing facilities, for organization of production.”

Now that the West threatens Russia with sanctions, cooperation with Asian countries is of special importance to Moscow. “What happens is that on the background of the emotions from our Western, European and American counterparts the Asian counterparts are much more constructive,” Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev said in an interview with Russia-24 television channel.

The minister stressed the counterparts from Japan, China or Korea are less likely to be making immediate abrupt conclusions.

Though official Tokyo has supported the sanctions against Russia, the VI Russian-Japanese investment forum on Wednesday demonstrated the sanctions would not be obstacles for businesses or mutual investments. During the forum, Russia and Japan signed 13 cooperation agreements and memorandums, where the costs exceed $2.5 billion.

Head of the Maritime Territory’s economic department Nikolai Dubinin told the forum that 68 percent of the investments in the region come from Japan. He invited Japanese businesses to participate in seven “anchor” projects for territories of advanced development: gambling zones, car assembly projects at the special economic zone, petrochemical and fishery clusters, industrial and agricultural parks and a special economic zone at the Vostochny Port.

“In structures of investments, for Russia the most preferable counterpart among the Asia-Pacific countries is Japan, as it is most modern and progressive,” Viktor Belkin of the Far East’s school of economics and management says. “It is highly improbable that as far as economy is concerned the Japanese may follow the US or Europe affecting their own interests,” the PrimaMedia agency quotes him as saying.

Besides, he continued, in the Asia-Pacific region Russia may rely on South Korea, which unlike Japan is less exposed to influence from the US, though it keeps on good terms with the Americans. “Koreans are more capable of risky movements than restrained Japanese,” Belkin said.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in the address to the Federal Assembly in December 2013 announced development of the Far East and Siberia a national priority for the entire XXI century. Russia’s Asian regions will be divided into a net of territories of advanced development with special tax regimes, which will develop non-raw-materials production. Head of the ministry for development of the Far East Alexander Galushka says about current analyses of about 400 potential locations for organization of territories of advanced development. Ten of those locations are practically ready for further exploitation, and potential investors are welcome there.


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