President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues,
It gives me great pleasure to be here with you to talk about the Lipetsk special economic zone’s development.
I won’t hide the fact, of course, that your presence in this zone sends an important signal that the Russian economy is developing. This is a signal for other investors and it indicates that, even with the international financial system going through a crisis investment can go ahead and turn a profit. Here we see that, despite the risks that we all try to calculate when making these kinds of investment they can prove an effective undertaking.
Perhaps the main aim of today’s meeting is to hear from you about the decisions you have made, and perhaps also the problems you have encountered. I think this is the aim of communication between business and the authorities, all the more so in a particular place like this special economic zone.
I know that these issues, government decision-making issues, are matters you discuss regularly. I can tell you that we are maintaining the rules and regulations put in place for carrying out business in the special economic zones. These rules and regulations guarantee minimum risks for investors. We will also continue our efforts, of course, to reduce the administrative barriers that in Russia are still very high indeed, and that we consider very negatively.
Sooner or later, the time will also come, of course, when we will have to discuss tax and customs incentives and the possible policies we can develop in these areas. I am sure that you have your own ideas on these matters, and I hope that you also have your own experience of how the legislative procedures in these areas are applied in our country.
I hope too that the system in place here in the Lipetsk special economic zone can serve in a sense as an example: it lowers administrative costs and uses the one-window principle, and this is something that, unfortunately, we have not yet developed elsewhere.
I heard from the governor and others during my tour of a number of the zone’s facilities about the work underway here. The figures we heard today are good, of course. I think that 57 billion rubles in potential investment in the zone – practically $2 billion – is not bad at all for a start. At the same time, the opening of new production facilities in the zone is creating new jobs, and this is very important, especially during the crisis. These two results are therefore key indicators in our eyes.
Amendments were made to the Federal Law On Special Economic Zones at the end of last December. I signed this law on December 25. In particular, the minimum investment threshold for obtaining resident status in industrial production and port special economic zones has been lowered from 10 million euros and 100 million euros respectively to 3 million euros and 10 million euros. I think this will make it possible to broaden the spectrum of potential investors, although there are still a number of other problems that remain to be tackled.
We have also expanded the list of qualifying activities. After a long campaign, the decision was finally taken to allow lot production of science-intensive products in technical incubation zones, and construction of sea and river vessels and aircraft in port zones. We have redistributed powers between the federal authorities and the regions, and also between the Special Economic Zones joint stock company and the managing companies. These are latest developments you can learn about, if you have not already received information on them. I hope that these measures will improve the general situation with the laws governing special economic zones in our country.
So far, the way I see it, the Lipetsk special economic zone is developing well. It already has 17 residents. I quoted the figure for total investment just before. According to my reference material, 1,300 jobs have already been created, but going by the governor’s report, a very large number of jobs – 28,000 — will be created eventually. There is no saying just how important this is for our country and for Lipetsk Region.
I want to thank you for deciding to invest and for establishing your production here. I hope that we will overcome the current problems and establish an optimum system for cooperation between business and the authorities in the special economic zones here in Lipetsk and elsewhere in our big country.