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As the Asia Pacific plays an increasingly important role in the global economy, Russia's East emerges as a top national priority in the 21st century. Going forward, the Government's Far Eastern policy will primarily seek to foster the growth of industry, infrastructure, agriculture and human capital locally. The enablers, like the advanced development territories, are set to contribute to the entire national economy, not just the region.
The years of 2015 and 2016 became a turning point for Russia's Far East.
The key socio-economic enablers include the advanced development territories (ADT), the Free Port of Vladivostok, subsidies for infrastructure investments, and financing of the Far East Development Fund. By late 2017, these incentives are expected to bring RUB 1.67 trillion worth of investments to the Russian Far East.
After the programme was launched, the Far Eastern region saw the creation of 16 ADTs, including five in 2016.
The Free Port of Vladivostok's customs checkpoints now work 24/7. A one-stop shop system has been set up for cargoes crossing the national border, with electronic declaration of goods and green corridors for foreign trade operators put in place.
The Far East Development Fund has 13 projects in its portfolio, with investments totalling RUB 115 billion.
New transport infrastructure will link the Far East to domestic and external markets to boost the region's investment case.
On 1 July 2016, a new law enabling Russian citizens to get free land plots in the Far East (the "Far Eastern hectare") came into force, seeking to attract people from other Russian regions. So far, 86,000 applications have been filed and over 14,000 land plots allocated. The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East estimates that, by 2025, some 6.5 million people (vs the current 6.2 million) will reside in the Far Eastern Federal District.
According to investors, the focus should be on the improvement of regional infrastructure, logistics and cargo clearance processes, addressing labour shortages and high energy costs.