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All for the port-franco
Regions of the Far East are preparing to become Free Ports
According to EastRussia, last year's initiative of the Ministry of Regional Development on the extension of the Free Port regime to all key harbors of the Far East can be developed before the Eastern Economic Forum.
Having secured the assignment of the President of the Russian Federation, the department developed a draft federal law "About the Free Port of the Far East" last year, which envisages the introduction of a regime similar to the South of Primorye in the Khabarovsk Territory, Kamchatka, Chukotka and Sakhalin. At the same time, this initiative has a number of alternative ways of implementation. This may be either a separate law "On the Free Port of the Far East", or some comprehensive law on Free Ports in the Russian Federation (the initiative is being worked out by the Ministry of Transport of Russia) or an amendment to the current law "On the Free Port of Vladivostok", expanding the geography of its use. It is the latter option - as the fastest one - that can be applied so that new preferential regimes appear to the Eastern Economic Forum.
The fact that the number of Free Ports in the Far East may expand in the very near future is also indicated by the activation of the governor's corps. The other day the corresponding statement was made by the head of the Khabarovsk Territory Vyacheslav Shport: “For our harbors, the spread of this regime opens up new possibilities. This is a more active development of foreign economic activity, and new perspectives on marine fisheries and bioresources processing. In some of our ports, such as Vanino and De-Kastri, quite a few large companies are already operating. I am sure that additional preferences in the framework of the free port will also interest new investors, ”the head of the Khabarovsk Territory confidently stated.
Experts interviewed by EastRussia correspondent agreed that the very decision to expand the Free Port system harmoniously fits into the current state policy for the development of the Far East. At the same time, the experts gave different estimates of the appropriateness of such a measure and the efficiency expected from it.
"The process of granting the regime of the Free Port to the port zone of the Khabarovsk Territory can not be called a rush by the state," said the associate professor of the Department of Economic and Social Geography of Russia at the Faculty of Geography of the Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosov Vladimir Gorlov. - Since the introduction of this regime in the territory of Primorsky Krai, such a strong effect, which would make it possible to judge the effectiveness of this measure of state support, has not yet followed. And if we talk in general about the distribution of Free Ports in the Far East in the near future, then from the state it is nothing more than an administrative rage. Empty spreading of this kind of state support in the Far Eastern macroregion. "
According to the expert, before the decision to create the Free Port of Khabarovsk, it was necessary to begin to work out the Free Port model in Vladivostok, after which it was necessary to make a forecast of all the benefits it can bring to the region, understand all its advantages and disadvantages. For the simple reason that in the ports of the Far Eastern coast, companies owning berths are very different from each other, both in work and in their interests. At the same time, using the example of Vladivostok, one should determine the entire amount of public and private expenditures, which is necessary for creating a network of Free Ports in the Far East.
"Creating in the Far East Free ports should be very consistent. Periodicity - no more than one port per year. And within the framework of this process, gradually eliminate all the shortcomings of this model, which it manifests in practice. At the same time, the process of granting the regime to the Far Eastern ports must be provided with a whole range of appropriate measures - organizational, financial, managerial - with an ideally thought-out algorithm for their introduction, "said Vladimir Gorlov.
At the same time, according to him, the regime of the Freeport is not the only one, but only one of several measures of state support suitable for the development of the Far East, in the excessive reproduction of which there is no need for its territory. And even more so - its distribution in the Far East will cause its result of intense competition between the ports of this macroregion.
"The best option would be not to introduce the Free mode in each Far Eastern port, but to introduce it only in some of them. In others, create free economic zones, which include not only the port itself, but also one or another part of the port territory. At the same time, it is necessary to conduct a full assessment of the needs of Russian businesses operating in the Far East, in free ports - to determine the number of necessary to them. It seems that it will be rather small, since in the mass of this business that is engaged in production in the Far East, it is now impossible to call successful, "Vladimir Gorlov explained.
According to Yevgeny Plisetskiy, Deputy Director of the Institute for Regional Studies and Urban Planning of the National Research University "Higher School of Economics", "the state's provision of the Free Port regime is a universal measure of state support, which is based on an integrated approach to the development of the territory. Universal because, unlike granting territory the status of a special economic zone, which has a number of varieties, the Free Port assumes the possibility of carrying out a large number of activities. It can be said with a high degree of certainty that such a measure of state support is equally applicable not only to the Far Eastern, but also to all Russian ports. It is quite realistic that, as a result of the provision of the Free Port regime to many of the Far East port areas, they will not fail to actively demonstrate their development. "
At the same time, according to Yevgeny Plisetskiy, granting the Free Port regime to a number of Far Eastern port zones will not lead to a competition between them in the future. And it will be a process that completely fits into the modern state policy of the development of the Far East. "But here it should be noted that the creation of Free Ports in the Far East will entail new investments only when all the infrastructure and regulatory framework necessary for them are created on the territories of their regime's distribution. And, that is, only if for new investments in addition to the Free Port Regimes, even almost completely finished production sites will be provided, as well as a convenient set of legislative acts. But under such conditions, new investments will come to the Far East in the short term, but only in the medium term, "added Evgeni Plisetskiy.
"Multiple increase in the number of Free ports in the Far East is one of the main components of modern state policy in this macroregion, which provides for a turn to Asia. But it is unlikely to bear fruit, - said the head of the Center for Economic Studies of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements Vasily Koltashov. Including the creation of the Free Port of Khabarovsk. Since this initiative - the creation of the Free Ports Network - was successfully implemented by China in due time, but in conditions of modern Russian realities it is ineffective. And also because the world as a whole is now experiencing an economic crisis. In particular, international trade is in a very difficult situation - due to the extremely low capacity of consumers in many countries of the world. Therefore, it is unlikely that, as a result of the emergence of all those preferences in the ports of the Far East that envisage the Free Port regime, investors are interested in the prospect of their use and have started to make new investments, as well as to increase the supply of products to this macroregion. In particular, China, for which the state now counts, creating Free ports in the Far East. "
In his view, Chinese investors, despite all the preferences envisaged by the Free Ports, are also unprofitable to invest in the Far East today, because for them there is no point in engaging in similar activities with those already existing in China in the Far Eastern subjects. They are more than interested in continuing to import their own finished products to Russia.
“It is also important to take into account the fact that by now very large investments have been made in the world economy - one can even say redundant ones. In particular - in the economy of the countries of Northeast Asia. Therefore, now there is no reason for foreign countries to invest in Russia. The Russian Far East is no exception, ”pointed out Vasily Koltashov.
According to him, what really could lead today to an increase in the volume of trade and investment by both domestic and foreign investors is either a situation in which they would be compelled, for lack of other opportunities, to buy in large quantities Russian goods (For example, due to the introduction in the world of a ban on the import of products to countries that have full capacity for all production facilities for the release of any goods), or interest in an actively growing Russian market, emerged ix is impossible in near future. Moreover, in such cases, the provision of all those preferences that the Free Port assumes is not necessary, since they represent the great benefits for the investor.
Interviewed experts agreed that in the Primorsky Territory the appearance of the Free Port of Vladivostok has not yet led to rapid economic growth: the active seaside business is actively migrating to the Free Port today, and this is not quite the effect promised by the developers. At the same time, for the authorities of other Far Eastern regions, the introduction of the Free Port regime is an opportunity not only to be in a trend, but also an attempt to compete with the more advanced Primorie for the interest of the federal authorities and investors. "There would be a tool - the application will definitely be there for him," one of the interlocutors of EastRussia said optimistically. "The economic situation is such that the state can quite afford a certain risk in this territory."