In two weeks, the fifth Eastern Economic Forum (WEF) will begin in Vladivostok, within the framework of which more than 70 business events are planned with the participation of leaders of states, public figures, Russian and foreign representatives of business, government and the expert community.
The forum was established by decree of Vladimir Putin in 2015 and since then has traditionally been held in early September on the campus of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) on Russky Island. The creation of a new business platform for meetings between Russian business representatives and Asian colleagues is associated with the development of trade relations with the Asia-Pacific countries and the strengthening of their role in the global economy.
As one of the WEF’s regular visitors, the president of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RF CCI) Sergey Katyrin, noted in an interview with RT, the sanctions policy of the European Union showed the unreliability of Russia's Western European partners. At the same time, the states of the Asia-Pacific region showed an increasing interest in close cooperation with Moscow.
According to experts, it was the WEF that became the starting point for the formation of an alliance between Russia and the Asia-Pacific countries. As Sergey Katyrin recalls, the excitement around the first forum on the part of foreigners significantly exceeded the initial estimates of the organizers.
“This fact was the best proof of the interest of entrepreneurs from different countries in Asia in a mutually beneficial partnership,” Katyrin said.
According to official figures, during the WEF annual number of participants has grown significantly. If in 2015 the forum brought together 2.5 thousand people from 32 countries, then in 2018 more than six thousand delegates from 60 countries visited the business site.
It is curious that initially the most active participants in the WEF were the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. However, at the end of 2018, the United States, Great Britain and Mongolia joined the list of countries with the largest delegations.
The forum guests communicate in the format of panel sessions, round tables, television debates, business breakfasts and business dialogs. At the same time, the plenary meeting with the participation of Vladimir Putin and invited heads of state becomes the central event of the WEF.
“Today it is the most effective way for our foreign colleagues to get acquainted with the capabilities of the Far East and hear firsthand about the existing mechanisms for attracting private investment in the region, for example, priority development areas, the Free Port of Vladivostok, state infrastructure support for investment projects,” he emphasized. Sergey Katyrin.
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During the existence of the Eastern Economic Forum, 731 agreements were signed on its fields for a total of 8.75 trillion rubles.
The largest investment projects include the agreement of the Corporation for the Development of the Far East JSC with the East Petrochemical Company JSC on the creation of petrochemical industries (transaction amount - 630 billion rubles), as well as the Amur Gas Chemical Complex project between the Russian Ministry of Eastern Development and Sibur PJSC Holding ”(500 billion).
In 2018, following the results of the forum, an agreement was signed for 360 billion rubles between LLC GDK Baimskaya, KAZ Minerals PLC, the government of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and the Russian Ministry of Development for the implementation of an investment project for the development of deposits of the Baim ore zone.
In addition, at last year's WEF, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Alibaba Group, MegaFon and Mail.Ru Group entered into a strategic partnership agreement. As expected, as a result of cooperation, the largest joint venture in the field of social commerce in Russia and the CIS will be created.
In general, according to experts interviewed by RT, the most popular among investors are joint projects in the field of oil and gas and nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, the construction industry and agriculture.
In total, work is currently underway on the territory of the Far Eastern Federal District on 1718 investment projects with the provision of state support measures. The volume of investment under the agreements is 3.8 trillion rubles. Such data are given by the Ministry of Eastern Development.
“In the past five years, the Far East has collected a third of all foreign direct investment that came to the Russian Federation. I am deeply convinced that the Eastern Economic Forum has made a serious contribution to this. Here, on the Far Eastern land, state leaders and heads of major companies say that it is profitable to invest in the Far East today, ”said Alexander Kozlov, Minister for Development of the Far East and the Arctic, to RT.
According to him, 71.5% of all foreign investment falls to China (1.55 trillion rubles), 10.5% to South Korea and 5% to Japan. In addition to the oil and gas industry and agriculture, transportation, logistics, timber processing, and mining are also key areas for investment in the region.
“By the end of the year, the construction of two joint Russian-Chinese cross-border projects that are most important for the Far East will be completed: a road bridge between Blagoveshchensk and Heihe and a railway bridge between the village of Nizhneleninskoye in the Jewish Autonomous Region and Tongjiang. Launch - in April 2020. These are the first bridges across the Amur River between our countries, ”concluded Alexander Kozlov.