NOVO OGARYOVO, Moscow Region, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russia could loosen the tightening grip of western sanctions on its economy by improving the economic climate in its far-eastern territories, designated as “advanced development zones” in a bill that may be laid before the Duma in autumn, Russia’s Far East Development Minister said Wednesday.
Speaking at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka said the plan to make the region a lucrative investment opportunity for foreign business is “probably the best response to attempts to thwart Russia’s development by throwing foreign policy obstacles in its path.”
Advanced development zones are export-oriented zones with preferential conditions for businesses. Their creation signals Russia’s strategic Asian pivot that comes amid toughening penalties on its exports to Europe.
According to the minister, a special committee in charge of the development project has drawn up a list of the region’s 4,400 largest companies that today export $10 trillion worth of products to the Asia-Pacific Region.
“The first five memorandums of understanding have already been signed with foreign investors,” Galushka said.
The minister added that a draft law on advanced development zones may be submitted to the Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, during the autumn session.
In June, the Far East Development Ministry unveiled a targeted support program for the region that is expected to attract some $65 billion in investment.