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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Artemyev, we have spoken a lot about the need to promote a favourable environment for encouraging investment in our economy. This includes both Russian and foreign investment.
You have drafted amendments to the federal law on foreign investment in strategic enterprises. I propose that we take a closer look at them now, see just what they are about. Let’s discuss them.
Director of The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Igor Artemyev: Mr President, following your instruction, a second round of amendments is being made to liberalise the law on foreign investment in strategic sectors of the Russian economy [Federal Law No. 57FZ On Procedures for Carrying Out Foreign Investment in Economic Organisations of Strategic Importance for National Defence and Security]. The Government has approved these amendments, which, after being examined at a Government meeting, will go before the State Duma.
The idea of the new proposals on simplifying procedures for foreign investment is roughly as follows. First, they cover the use of pathogenic organisms able to cause category III and IV infectious diseases in foodstuffs production. This means that investment in various dairy plants and food processing plants will no longer have to go before the commission first, as the simplified rules do away with this procedure.
Furthermore, companies that already hold a 75-percent stake and obtain the necessary approvals will also not have to go before the commission if they want to buy shares over and above this figure. There are quite a few companies in this situation.
Third, in the case of Russian companies carrying out share issues on foreign markets, monitoring that the threshold for control of strategic companies is not exceeded will be the task of the companies themselves. At the approval stage with the commission there will be no restrictions on these companies’ placements on foreign exchanges. This settles one of the big issues and will make it a lot easier for Russian investment, both domestic and abroad.
More to that, the Russian regions will have the right to act without having to get the commission’s approval in the case of Russian residents and taxpayers buying Russian strategic assets. At the moment, this right exists only at federal, not regional level.
A number of other new provisions are being introduced. The issue of banks is being settled completely and this law will no longer apply to them at all. The law will be clearer and more precise, and takes into account the experience the government commission has built up over these last three years. We held a lot of meetings with foreign investors and they have given our initiatives a very positive assessment.
Vladimir Putin: Good.