07:05 GMT23 September 2020
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    As the global centers of financial and economic power shift eastward, Russia is in the highly enviable position of having the land and the resources to become a major investment hub in the region. Russian Minister for the Development of the Far East Alexander Galushka told Sputnik exactly what kinds of foreign investment Russia is looking for.

    Speaking to Russia's RIA Novosti and Sputnik news agencies on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last week, the minister explained that Russia was open and clear about the kinds of quality foreign investment it needs in the Far East.

    "Our position is rather open and clear. We are happy to host real, quality investors. We have two requirements: compliance with Russian legislation, including environmental legislation (which is among the strictest in the world), and that Russian labor is used for no less than 80% of any project," Galushka said.

    The minister noted that any exceptions to these conditions can be agreed on a case-by-case basis, "when, for example, we do not have the necessary specialists at all." 

    Nevertheless, he added that even in those situations, projects are accompanied by training programs for Russian workers, who are eventually meant to replace foreign laborers, and concrete timeframes must be presented by investors outlining when foreign workers can be replaced by Russian ones. After all,"we are creating a new economy in the Far East for our people – for our citizens," Galushka emphasized.

    The minister noted that at present, the share of foreign investment in projects in Russia's Far East amounts to between 17-18% of total investment, with Russian companies and the Russian government accounting for the rest. He mentioned China, Japan, and India as three important investors in the region. 

    Japanese investors, for example, have contributed $16 billion to 21 projects that are presently being implemented, he explained.

    Planned and active foreign investment into the Russian Far East includes major cross-border transport and energy infrastructure projects, international transport corridors, natural resource extraction and processing, agriculture, manufacturing and investment in other spheres.

    Over the last decade or so, Moscow has invested considerable time and energy into efforts to improve the Far East's development prospects and its investment climate.

    Last year, the Russian government launched a program giving citizens the opportunity to claim a free hectare of land (2.5 acres) in the Far East, provided they engage in economically useful activity. As of early 2017, it was calculated that over two million Russians had shown interest in getting their own slice of land in Russia's 'frontier country'. Foreigners have also shown interest in the project, which is presently limited to Russian citizens.

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    Tags:
    economic development, foreign investment, investment, Alexander Galushka, Russia, Russian Far East
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