2015, 14 SEP
Russia pins great hope on Far East development: Deputy PM

Russia will offer a host of preferential policies for investors to develop its vast Far Eastern region, on which the country is pinning great hope, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev said.

"We say that a new territory, a strong investment magnet, has emerged on the world map," Trutnev, who is also Russia's presidential plenipotentiary envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The Far East, the largest of Russia's nine federal districts, is also one of the less populated. Major investment projects in the district are being carried out with special attention from the Kremlin and the Russian government.

In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to give the Far East city of Vladivostok and 15 other maritime administrative districts the "free port" status.

"President Putin has set the target to accelerate the development of the Far East. He called it an overriding priority of the 21st century. We have been entrusted with a high responsibility of implementation," Trutnev said.

The region is attractive not only because of its rich resources and logistic capacities, but also because it is surrounded by the huge markets of rapidly growing countries such as China, South Korea and Japan, which can benefit from its exploration, Trutnev said.

The Russian government has created a "block of advantages" to speed up the socio-economic development of the Far East, including tax breaks, simplification of administrative procedures and the creation of a single management center, he said.

"All the administrative functions in the free port of Vladivostok are concentrated in one body. One does not have to deal with a number of state bodies," Trutnev said.

He also highlighted that Russia considers China as one of its main potential partners in the region's development.

"Our Chinese partner is talking about the new Silk Road and new logistic corridors. One cannot imagine those without Russia, which is now capable of providing rapid access to eastern ports," he said.

The Silk Road Economic Belt, together with the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, commonly known as the "Belt and Road" initiatives, were proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.

The initiatives bring together countries in Asia, Europe and even Africa via overland and maritime networks, with the purpose of boosting infrastructure building, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges in those regions. The network passes through more than 60 countries and regions, with a total population of 4.4 billion.

Trutnev said Chinese businesses can play an active role in plenty of projects such as building railways, border checkpoints and a cross-border aerial ropeway. "Russia intended to continue the cooperation and widen it," he added.

Besides, a package of investment programs will be discussed at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) scheduled for Sept. 3 to 5 in Vladivostok, Trutnev said.

The EEF is an annual event proposed by Putin to speed up the development of eastern Russia and expand multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

"The Eastern Economic Forum is a platform where all our colleagues, partners and investors will find that the investment environment in the Far East has changed," Trutnev said.