President Vladimir Putin: In November 2005 we summed up the results of the tender for creating special economic zones. The tender drew 72 bids from 47 regions in the country. Now, four technology-incubation zones and two industrial and manufacturing zones have been established. Proposals on the creation of supervisory boards have already been formulated and other routine issues are, as far as I know, in the process of being settled.
Now we are examining the possibilities for creating other types of zones, above all tourism and recreation zones and special zones in port areas.
We also face some problems and questions, however. As I see the situation, this concerns above all the numerous state control procedures. It seems strange that this problem should arise when part of the whole point of creating these zones was to make it possible to settle administrative issues swiftly and with a minimum of red tape. But we find ourselves once again facing problems of numerous controls and complicated customs procedures. And this also seems strange given that these zones were set up in order to get away from precisely these kinds of problems. If these problems are arising nevertheless, this suggests that these are issues that require our particular, heightened attention.
One other issue that worries me a little, and that I have already discussed with [Economic Development and Trade Minister] German Oskarovich [Gref], is that foreign companies comprise 80 percent of the bids from potential residents of the zones. This would seem to be a positive thing, but it also raises the concerns over the potentially negative impact that it could have on the competitiveness of our own companies. I therefore propose that we discuss today the question of coordination between the federal, regional and local authorities in order to speed up construction of the engineering infrastructure in the special economic zones, examine the expediency of a more favourable customs regime and administrative procedures and move forward with the approval of a draft federal law on establishing new types of special economic zones. Of course, we also need to look at financing issues and at drawing up project and financial documentation for creating the technology park infrastructure needed in the high-tech sector. We have spoken about this on numerous occasions. Given that we are currently unable to satisfy all the bids with ideas for creating special economic zones, we can, as a preliminary stage in our work or as an additional solution to the problems these zones are being created to resolve, help with the establishment of technology parks in certain regions.
These are the issues I propose that we discuss today. Please also feel free to raise any other problems or questions that you think we should examine.