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Crimea to create comfortable business, investment conditions - minister

SIMFEROPOL, May 10, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's Minister for Crimean Affairs Oleg Savelyev urged the most comfortable conditions for business and investment on the peninsula.

"In this case, it is necessary to simplify administering and create the most comfortable conditions for business and investment in the Crimean peninsula," Savelyev said at a news conference at the CrimeaInform agency on Saturday.

Crimea should have special regimes, such as free port and possible incentives for holdings which are often used in offshore zones. "In our case, we attach importance to the legality of the capital coming to Crimea," the official said.

Savelyev emphasized that Crimea would never have "a money laundering offshore."

Incentives might include special tax regimes for new investment. Russia's experience in the operation of special economic zones and polls of investors who implemented their projects show that the incentives offered within the framework of legislation on special economic zones were not crucial, although welcome.

The most important thing was the opportunity to solve the problems of land development and land tenure twice as fast under special economic zone laws.

Savelyev referred to Singapore, whose modern technologies enable it to cut time of passage of a customs cleared container cargo to the island to 40 seconds.

"So far, we haven't been able to achieve it in Russia. Perhaps, we'll be able to do it for the first time in Crimea," the Russian minister said.

He pointed out that it is the Asian region that would be one of the most active investors in Crimea. "They have much in common. I count on Singapore, among other investors, because it has encountered a majority of problems that Crimea is facing now, i.e. water supply, dependence on Malaysia and land development," Savelyev said."They are very similar to what we have in Crimea."

It is very important for Russia to ensure "serious development of high-tech industries, and we're conducting preliminary negotiations in this area."
He noted among the investors China, South Korea and India.

"Of course, we'll pay close attention to the quality of investment projects. It is clear though that at the initial stage, those who come first will enjoy more support," he promised.

Ukrainian business in Crimea

Also Savelyev said that Ukrainian business people are interested in investing in local projects.

“I see the main task in not closing but opening the border (with Ukraine),” the minister said.

“In private conversations, Ukrainian business people said they had tremendous interest in coming, investing and working in Crimea."

Despite a wealth of political problems, such as pressure from Kiev and the international community which interferes with activities in Crimea, including Ukrainian business people's activity, "we very much hope for normal relations in the areas of water/energy supply and transport communication with Ukraine,” Savelyev said.

He acknowledged a number of logistic problems in using the Kerch ferry. "We'll experience certain difficulties if we are unable to use Ukrainian transit in our cargo and passenger transportation."

Nationalisation of private Ukrainian monopolies

Savelyev has denied nationalisation of private Ukrainian monopolies, such as Krymenergo electric utility or Ukrtelecom.

"The facilities belonging to private companies, individuals, etc neighbour have not passed, nor have been handed over into Russian ownership," Savelyev told.

He acknowledged certain problems encountered by Moscow at present where owners of this or that private company are not ready to operate - permanently or temporarily - fearing sanctions from Ukraine and the world at large.

At present, talks are underway with potential investors who would be interested to have ownership rights, for example to Ukrtelecom's infrastructure.

"It's another matter when obligations are not honored, or wages are not paid: we'll have to take certain measures within the framework of legislation to ensure the operation of these companies which are largely strategic. These would be bankruptcy procedures, receivership and organization of these measures here," the minister said.