Russian government says Chechnya has right to its own special economic zone

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Moscow, July 25 (RIA Novosti) - Chechnya has the right to have a special economic zone of its own, just as any other Federation member does, a Russian Economy Ministry official said Monday.

Marina Ovsyannikova, aide to Economic Development and Trade Minister Herman Gref, said special economic zones could be created within Chechnya's boundaries, but that they shall not cover all of it. She also said no formal application had come in from Chechen officials yet.

Russia's special economic zones law, signed by President Vladimir Putin on July 23, provides for the creation of ten to twelve such zones to encourage the development of high-tech and innovative industries.

Under the new law, residents of such zones will invest at least ten million euros in local economic projects, with one million to be invested within one year after the contract takes effect. In return, they will be granted various customs and tax privileges, including property and land tax breaks in the first five-year period.

Special economic zones will not be subject to customs duties on imported merchandise.

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