Eastern Economic Forum-2022. Some results



Note: this is a machine translation from the original text

From September 5 to 8, the Eastern Economic Forum (WEF) was held in Vladivostok, its theme was “On the way to a multipolar world”.

The forum gathered more than 7 thousand participants from 68 countries, including unfriendly ones (USA, Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Japan, France, etc.). A good result, because last year more than 4,000 participants came to the WEF.

Russian President Vladimir Putin noted: “In short, no matter how much someone wants to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do it, as we have always said about it. Just look at the map. Using our natural competitive advantages, we will continue to increase our transport potential, expand the network of roads and railways, build new approaches to sea terminals and increase their capacity.”

The main discussions and discussions revolved around various aspects of the development of the Far East and tourism. A separate topic was expected to be international politics.

The first results are impressive: 260 agreements totaling 3 trillion 255 billion rubles were signed right at the forum in the context of the economic development of the Far East (and these are only those amounts that are not a trade secret), which, as the plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev emphasized, is a real record in the post-crisis period.

The largest contract for the WEF 2022 was the agreement between Rostec and Aeroflot on the supply of 339 aircraft for the renewal of the national fleet in the period 2023–2030. As part of this agreement, 210 MS-21, 89 — Superjet-New and 40– Tu-214 aircraft will be transferred to Aeroflot Group on lease terms

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is also among the leaders: it has signed 39 agreements worth more than 330 billion rubles. Investments will go into various projects, from genetics to construction, including 120 billion will be invested in the construction of the Mirny mine, which is called the “Diamond Heart” of Russia.

In addition to Yakutia, Sakhalin will also grow with strategic projects. The most important analysts call the statement of the head of Novatek Leonid Mikhelson that the company is interested in participating in the Sakhalin-2 project. Another, no less significant, was the message of the head of Gazprom Alexey Miller about long-term investments in the Sakhalin region. In particular, the construction of a natural gas liquefaction plant and reception, storage and regasification systems, as well as investments in a new gas condensate and oil processing plant. Representatives of the Yumatex company told about their intentions to invest more than 6.5 billion rubles in the construction of the Korsakov shipyard in order to produce up to 100 small-class ships made of composite materials by 2026.

A pitch session of the Voskhod Foundation had a great resonance, where the best startups of the Far East presented their projects. As Ruslan Sarkisov, the general director of the foundation, explained, “we have selected 9 projects out of 150 applications. They were based on a deep scientific or technological orientation of projects with potentially good market prospects not only for the region, but also for Russia.” The main investor of Voskhod is Vladimir Potanin’s Interros Group, with the support of which and the Ministry of Economic Development, the volume of investments amounted to 10 billion rubles.

The foreign participants of the Forum did not stand aside either. For example, India, which has been increasingly expanding its cooperation with Russia in recent months. Indian businessmen discussed with the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade plans for the construction of a pharmaceutical cluster, which is certainly in demand against the background of Western sanctions and the lack of Russian analogues to a number of foreign drugs.

The participants devoted a significant part of their time to discussing the implementation of mechanisms for overcoming sanctions — settlement methods in soft (national) currencies, possible international cryptocurrency settlements to bypass SWIFT, de-dollarization of the economy, development of the digital economy and IT.

At the same time, in order to avoid possible secondary sanctions from the “Western partners” when calculating in the currency of unfriendly countries, promising monetary units — the yuan and the ruble, as well as their digital forms, were also indicated.

The issues of logistics, which, being an integral part of any trade turnover, is particularly sensitive to the sanctions regime, were also discussed by the expert community. It was decided to expand the BAM and Transsib, to bring cargo transportation along the Northern Sea Route to 200 million tons per year by 2035.

Within the framework of the task defined by the President of Russia to ensure a technological breakthrough, a conversation took place about the possibility of import substitution, which would be based not only on competitive technologies, but also on the training of highly qualified specialists capable of working in priority sectors of the economy.

In this context, it is of interest to sign an agreement between the non–profit organization “Fund for the Development of Social Initiatives”, the Skolkovo School of Management, the regions and the program “Muravyov-Amur 2030”. Graduates of the program will be able to find a job in the state civil service in the subjects of the Far Eastern and Siberian regions, otherwise they will be included in the managerial reserve of personnel for subsequent employment.

To attract the population to the Far Eastern regions, at the suggestion of the President of the Russian Federation, the preferential program “Far Eastern mortgage” will be extended at least until 2030.

Based on the results of the discussions, it should be recognized that the vector of economic flows is shifting from the West to the East. “The importance of the Far East has undoubtedly grown. Export flows, which have completely turned in the eastern direction, create new opportunities. New challenges are associated with the need for greater development of transport highways and the eastern polygon, the Northern Sea Route,” said Yuri Trutnev.

As for tourism, Vladimir Putin emphasized the urgent need to create new federal resorts on the shores of not only the fairly developed Black Sea, but also the Japanese, Caspian, Baltic and Azov Seas. In this regard, it is necessary to develop the number of cruise ships and build a berthing infrastructure.

At a time when trips abroad are becoming increasingly difficult to access, it is extremely important to create and develop domestic tourism. Therefore, the head of Primorye Oleg Kozhemyako proposed to expand the program of tourist cashback to ecological and cruise types of recreation.

Speaking about Yakutia, tourism was also named one of the promising developing industries. The government of the region has big plans for further modernization of the infrastructure of the hospitality sector, transport accessibility, construction of new hotels and restaurants.

As for the Kuril Islands, tourism is a priority for the development of their economy. The region is difficult to access for both people and investors, but there are no unsolvable tasks, as emphasized by Nikolay Zapryagaev, General Director of JSC Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic. On the Kuril Islands, you can see all the natural attractions in just four to five days, while the neighbors in the region will take more than a few weeks.

Much attention was paid to the topic of international politics in Vladimir Putin’s speech at the WEF plenary session. Main theses:

Russia cannot be isolated.

The Russian Federation and its leadership protect the national interests of the state and strengthen their own sovereignty, attempts to impose their will on it are doomed

European states are experiencing one of the strongest crises: its signs are the loss of jobs, the energy crisis, high inflation, the main reason is the rupture of relations with the Russian Federation, but Russia is confidently overcoming economic and technological difficulties, the peak of economic uncertainty and damage has passed, stabilization begins.

The probable inflation in Russia is 12%, and the economic downturn is 2%.

The ruble and the yuan will be used in equal proportions when paying for gas.

Russia has taken all measures to resolve the humanitarian crisis by exporting grain from Ukraine, but the international community deceived everyone and all food flows went to developed countries, leaving developing countries without assistance, thereby violating the basic values of the UN Charter.

Civil aviation is awaiting re-equipment.

We protect the people of Donbass.

Limiting the price of hydrocarbons is a very stupid decision, if this initiative is approved, supplies will stop.

The world needs multipolarity in order for it to be more just, and countries that think they are great do not abuse their opportunities, in particular, in violation of international law.

There will be no mirror measures in matters of visa restrictions.

Thus, the Eastern Economic Forum continued its tradition of setting new records every year. The WEF is still and will remain in the foreseeable future, a platform that gives a significant impetus to the development of both the Far East and Russia as a whole.