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EEF wraps up with billions in deals and Japan in spotlight

The forum was attended by more than 3,300 people, including 207 heads of Russian companies and 94 heads of foreign companies

VLADIVOSTOK, September 4. /TASS/. More than 200 agreements for 1.76 trillion rubles ($27.01 bln) were signed at the second Eastern Economic Forum 2016 (EEF 2016), Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka said on Saturday.

The forum was held on September 2-3 on the campus of Russia’s Federal Far-Eastern University on the Isle of Russky off the coast of Vladivostok. It was attended by more than 3,300 people, including 207 heads of Russian companies and 94 heads of foreign companies.

"In total, there were more than 1,500 business representatives. Foreign participants represented 56 countries. The delegations with most people were Japan - 246 people, China - 227, South Korea - 128 people," Galushka said.

Big business deals

Most documents were signed on the first day of the forum. Its motto was "Opening up the Russian Far East" and its program included more than 500 events. The EEF focused on creating a favorable business climate in the Far East contributing to attracting domestic and foreign investment. The Russian news agency TASS is the EEF general media partner.

The major agreements included a letter of intent to implement investment project Amur gas and chemical complex between the Far East Development Ministry and Sibur for 500 bln rubles ($7.67 bln), agreement on construction of a complex for production of mineral fertilizers in the Primorsky region between the Far East Development Fund and the National chemical group for 370.5 bln rubles ($5.68 bln), agreement to develop Natalka field between the Ministry and Polyus for 98.5 bln rubles ($1.5 bln), agreement on developing Verkhne-Munskoe kimberlite field between the Ministry and Alrosa with the investment volume of 63 bln rubles ($967.02 mln), Galushka said.

Japan steals the show

Japan and Russia have overcome the stagnation stage in the economic relations of four months ago, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told journalists at the forum.

"The situation changed after four months - in April we talked about the fact that we are in stagnation with Japan, now it has changed. I think this is a historic opportunity for us, and the parties understand that, in order to compensate for this stagnation and return to the positive trend in our relations," Ulyukayev said.

Russia and Japan have agreed to continue the pilot project on the 100% possibility of providing loans to Russian large-scale projects, such as Arctic LNG, and the third stage of Sakhalin-2 project, Ulyukayev said. "State-owned banks under the Japanese have the right to provide loans only in conjunction with private partners, but no more than 60%. In ordinary life, it is certainly correct, we also try to use that way, this is an option for public-private partnerships - but now it is not about normal life. Therefore we have agreed with the Japanese partners that this will be an exception, and state-owned banks will be able to provide 100% of loans for Russian projects," Ulyukayev said.

Ulyukayev added that it primarily concerns Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Nexi (Japanese foreign trade insurance organization). According to the minister, a pilot project is already being implemented, it concerns construction of a coal terminal of Vostochny port.

Russia proposed 50 projects in the Far East for financing through a fund with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Far East Development Fund, Economic Development Deputy Minister Stanislav Voskresensky told TASS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed economic cooperation between the two countries during the meeting on September 2 in Vladivostok on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum. "We hope that the visit of the Prime Minister and the discussion would allow JBIC to do more in Russia," head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev said.

Typhoon backdrop

The Lionrock typhoon struck the Far East's Primorye Territory following a mighty cyclone, which brought with it heavy downpours on August 29-31. Meteorology services registered the precipitation as three times the monthly norm. The Emergency services announced that in the region, flooding engulfed more than 2,500 houses, including one hospital, four kindergartens, three schools and a post office. On Saturday, 166 dwellings saw flooding subside.

The typhoon has wreaked the worst havoc in 40 years, head of the Chuguyev district Anatoly Baskakov said.The destruction is twice as devastating as the Judy typhoon disaster back in 1989. The damage inflicted in the region by the typhoon is estimated at 1.2 billion rubles ($18.42 million).