Russia is planning to boost the share of Asia Pacific countries in overall trade turnover volumes to 40 percent, and the country is calling for Asian investors to open up factories in Russia’s Far East, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
Russia will continue to increase cooperation with countries from this region, he said on Monday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, speaking on the topic of what the Asia Pacific region means to Russia.
“Trade with [these countries] currently makes up over a fourth of overall Russian trade turnover. In the future, we are planning to bring this share up to 40 percent and we are taking specific steps to broaden the geography of our exports and raise the proportion of non-energy and high-tech goods,” Putin said.
The president said that there are plans to create a whole network of areas of accelerated development in the Far East, with tax breaks and simplified administrative procedures.
“The enterprises that we plan to locate here will be geared toward manufacturing and exporting non-resource goods, primarily to countries in the Asia-Pacific region,” Putin said.
He invited Asian investors to take advantage of the opportunities opening up to set up production in Russia’s Far East.
“We are prepared to create genuinely better, competitive operating conditions for you,” Putin said.
He recalled that direct investment in the Russian economy from Asia-Pacific countries has doubled since 2009. It now amounts to nearly $9 billion.
Russian investment in Asia-Pacific countries is more modest at slightly more than $1 billion, he added.
“We intend to actively correct this imbalance. Among other things, we expect that the creation of the National Coordinating Center for Development of Economic Relations with Asia-Pacific Region Countries will make it possible to launch new projects with Russia’s participation,” Putin said.
He said that the government intends to use National Welfare Fund (NWF) resources, among other things, to co-finance the projects of private investors.
“In order to attract investors, reduce their risks, co-finance projects, we intend to use development institutions, a portion of reserves accumulated in sovereign funds, improve access to credit resources,” Putin said.
He said that the development of a mechanism for project financing, aimed at supporting major, long-term projects, is near completion, and next year the pre-bank financing of enterprises will be carried out by the new Industry Development Fund.
“In the area of infrastructure, we intend to invest considerable resources in the modernization of the Baikal-Amur and Trans-Siberian railways. We see them has the foundation for the transcontinental Asia-Europe bridge,” Putin said.
He said the overhaul of these railways will be tied into the development of port infrastructure in the Far East, the introduction of a train traffic management system based on Glonass satellite navigation technology, as well as the construction of transport and logistics centers. All this should significantly accelerate the movement of transit freight.
Russia is also actively developing the infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route, which is in large part aimed at freight traffic from the Asia-Pacific region, the president said.
He also urged Asian investors to participate in the construction of energy and telecommunications infrastructure. “These areas are now priorities for the whole Asia-Pacific region, and the combination of our efforts and capabilities can provide a mutually beneficial effect,” Putin said.
He said that in such a sensitive sector as energy Russia is showing an “example of investment openness,” and pointed to the ambitious Sakhalin oil and gas projects.
“The share of the Japanese party in the Sakhalin-1 project amounts to 30 percent, in Sakhalin-2 more than 22 percent,” Putin recalled, also mentioning recent agreements with China to build infrastructure for shipments of natural gas.