VLADIVOSTOK, September 5. /TASS/. Investments in the economy of Russia’s Far East over the five years amounted to 612 billion rubles ($9.27 bln) thanks to support measures, President Vladimir Putin said, speaking at a plenary meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum.
"In general, thanks to the proposed support measures, starting in 2015, investors invested 612 bln rubles in the region’s economy, put into operation 242 new plants, created more than 39,000 jobs," Putin stated.
He noted that the growth of industrial production in the Far East over the past five years reached 23%, which is almost three times higher than the national average.
The president recalled that 20 advance development territories (ADT) that were established in the region offer their residents special terms to set up production, state support measures and special tax treatment. By now, 369 residents have been registered in ADTs who concluded agreements for almost 2.5 trillion rubles ($37.8 bln) and pledged to open more than 60,000 new jobs, Putin said. He added that these residents have already invested 344.8 bln rubles ($5.2 bln) in the regional economy and created almost 20,000 jobs.
The Russian leader also recalled the operation of the free port of Vladivostok, which is aimed at integration of the Far Eastern regions of Russia into the economic space of the Asia-Pacific region. The advantages of the free port were taken by more than 1,400 residents, who concluded agreements for almost 700 bln rubles ($10.6 bln), the Russian president noted.
Attracting companies to advanced refining
For its part, Russia plans to provide incentives to companies involved in advanced refining in the Far East, President Vladimir Putin went on to say.
"Obviously we plan to focus on boosting exports of highly refined products. That is also our principal position that I would like local and foreign investors, residents of advanced special economic zones and the free port of Vladivostok to pay attention to," he said.
As an example of supporting advanced processing, the president mentioned an increase in export tariffs on round timber. "Meanwhile, we are ready to prop up those willing to invest in wood processing facilities, particularly to create the most favorable environment for exports of finished goods, including the markets of third countries," he noted.
Aircraft construction, gas refining and petrochemical industry are being actively developed in the region now, Putin said, adding that the creation of the Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex is underway.
Development of Vostochny spaceport
Russia is ready to attract foreign partners to the development of the Vostochny spaceport, the president stated. "As for the spaceport — this is not a military spaceport. We are now deciding who is to build the next stages [of the spaceport]. But in general, it is a spaceport for launches, primarily for civilian purposes," he said.
"Therefore, not only we believe that it is possible to work there together with foreign partners, but we are interested in it and will certainly involve them in this cooperation," Putin stressed.
According to the president, Russia has joint space projects with India and similar work is underway with China. Cooperation with the European Space Agency is also developing.
"We are working with the United States. We carry out launches in the interests of our foreign partners, including the United States. We plan to transfer most of these launches to the Vostochny spaceport," the President said.
"I do not see any direction [of cooperation] that could be closed to our foreign partners. On the contrary, we are interested in attracting them," Putin concluded.
Vostochy is Russia’s first civilian spaceport. The first successful space launch was performed from Vostochny in April 2016 when three satellites were put in orbit. Vostochny was built in the country's Far East to ensure Russia’s overall access to outer space and reduce its dependence on Kazakhstan’s Baikonur space center.
Russia is interested in developing partnerships in the aircraft industry in the Far East, restrictions apply only to access to certain military technologies, President Vladimir Putin stated.
"As for the aircraft plant [in Komsomolsk-on-Amur — TASS], they have already teamed up with some [foreign partners — TASS]. Our so-called Su fighters, by the Sukhoi company, are well-known in the world. We built the Sukhoi Superjet together with Italian and French partners. We work, we are open and have nothing to hide," Putin said but immediately corrected himself. "Of course, we do have [something to hide]. We hold back the things we should keep for ourselves for a time being, but at the same time there is every opportunity for effective modern cooperation," the Russian president added.
Creating a venture fund
Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to tackle the creation of a venture fund in the Far East, he told the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum. "In order to boost the number of start-ups and to make them grow and turn into medium-sized and then large companies, we should not only support them legislatively, we need a regulatory environment and also we should provide them with effective financial instruments. In this regard, I propose creating a special venture capital fund in the Far East," Putin said. He instructed the government to come up with concrete solutions, considering the sources of funding that are already available.
According to the president, creating a powerful scientific and industrial center in the region is a huge challenge and a field of opportunities.
"The level of requirements for the effectiveness of our measures and decisions should be appropriate," Putin noted.
"First of all, this concerns the economy of the future, support for young teams implementing breakthrough ideas and solutions. All over the world, start-ups headed by young people are a driving force for economic development," he said.
The fifth Eastern Economic Forum is being held in Russia’s Vladivostok on September 4-6. Roscongress Foundation is the organizer of the event. TASS news agency is the event’s general information partner, the official photo hosting agency and moderator of the presentation zone focusing on the Russian Far East’s innovation opportunities.