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35th meeting of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council in Russia

Opening remarks by Mikhail Mishustin:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen!

I am glad to welcome you all to the meeting of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council. It will be held for the 35th time.

The world is gradually adapting to new realities. The shock caused by the emergence of the coronavirus has generally been overcome. The global economy has returned to growth. And today we can continue the discussion of all topical issues as openly and constructively as it has always been at the meetings of our council.

Russia is in the trend of global positive changes. Our growth has also recovered. A good result was given by measures to support our citizens and businesses, which were implemented by the Government of the Russian Federation on the instructions of the President. According to the Ministry of Economic Development, in eight months of this year, the gross domestic product grew by 4.7%. The economy not only returned to the pre-crisis level, but also exceeded it. Investments and housing construction, freight traffic and retail trade are growing at a steady pace. In contrast, unemployment is declining rapidly.

Positive forecasts for the development of the Russian economy are also confirmed by international organizations. In particular, following the World Bank last week, the International Monetary Fund also raised the estimate of our economic growth in 2021.

Business activity is recovering. Investment demand was the key driver. Investments in fixed assets increased, and in the first half of the year, foreign direct investment amounted to about $ 11 billion.

We are seeing positive dynamics in foreign trade as well. In January-August, the trade turnover increased by almost 40%. And to a large extent due to the expansion of exports.

The projects of the companies participating in the Advisory Council are also actively developing. They cover many areas. Almost every year we record an increase in the volume of accumulated investments in the Russian economy. Now it is about $ 185 billion. This is a good trend.

This year, the capacities of existing enterprises were expanded in several regions of our country. Substantial investments have been made in food production.

In the field of green energy, a competitive selection of investment projects took place last month, which will result in the construction of solar, wind and hydro power generation facilities with a total installed capacity of more than 2.5 GW. Moreover, more than half of this capacity will appear thanks to a partnership with one of the members of the Advisory Council. Localization has also been completed and the production of an important drug for the treatment of a rare blood cancer has begun.

Further economic growth will be directly related to restarting the investment cycle – this is the task set by the President within the framework of national development goals for the next 10 years. To achieve them, we have updated national projects, adopted 42 new strategic initiatives. Each of them forms potentially large and capital-intensive areas, as well as new sales markets that open up prospects for the further development of our cooperation with you, create conditions for launching new mutually beneficial projects.

We did not stop improving the investment climate even in difficult conditions of the last year. You all know very well that as a result of our previous communication, the terms of state registration of medical devices were reduced. The zero rate of import duty of the Common Customs Tariff of the Eurasian Economic Union for superabsorbents has been extended.

Investment instruments are now expanding. Last year we launched a special institution – investment protection and promotion agreements. It allows us to guarantee investors the invariability of the conditions for doing business in our country for a long period of time. In about a year, such documents were concluded for a total investment of about 1.3 trillion rubles.

There is great interest in this instrument. Another 75 applications with a total investment of 2 trillion rubles are under consideration.

These agreements involve large investments. But we want to attract investments in medium and small projects that will be effective on the scale of one or several constituent entities of the Russian Federation. To this end, the launch of regional agreements on the protection and promotion of investment is being prepared. A corresponding investment standard is being formed. The best practices and incentive systems are selected to improve the quality of interaction with investors and to speed up the attraction of funds to the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. By the end of this year, it is planned to be piloted in 11 regions.

In parallel, a mechanism for transforming the business climate is working. This year, export and intellectual property roadmaps were updated, and a new map was adopted in September to improve the regulatory framework in industrial construction.

Many of your companies operate in the Far East. In recent years, we have been paying special attention to this region, as well as the Arctic. I think you will agree that they have serious potential. And cooperation in this area will bring considerable dividends to the participants of new joint projects. For this, the Far East concession mechanism was launched at the beginning of autumn. A number of preferential regimes have also been created for advanced socio-economic development.

By developing your business in Russia, you gain access to the large common market of the Eurasian Economic Union. This is over 180 million consumers. If we add the potential of the observer states in the union, then we get more than 200 million. By ensuring the freedom of movement of goods, services, investments and labor, promoting promising digital initiatives, we create new opportunities for joint projects in various fields, including cross-border ones. Based on the competitive advantages of our states.

Although Russia occupies a leading position in the field of traditional energy, we are closely following the development of new directions. The transition to green energy is more than urgent for Russia.

And already now the Government is actively forming the regulatory framework and the financing system for launching climate projects. Moreover, both for the purely green – in the field of solar and wind energy, hydroelectric power generation, and for transitional ones associated with associated petroleum gas, coal mine methane. Where technology is important to preserve the environment.

A federal law on greenhouse gas emissions has already been adopted. This is a fundamental document for the launch of carbon regulation in Russia. The infrastructure for the Russian carbon market is also being formed. There are 17 normative acts and two bills in the works now. They will enable the launch of a system for the circulation of carbon units and climate projects.

We are restructuring entire regions and industries to a low-carbon development scenario, and in some cases we are trying to solve more ambitious tasks – the formation of carbon neutrality. The President set a specific benchmark – no later than 2060. This is a great potential for the growth of new technologies and the formation of new industries. Plans have already been prepared for the development of electric transport, hydrogen and nuclear energy.

Many issues on the climate agenda lie in the plane of global interaction. For example, cross-border regulation, mutual recognition of carbon credits by countries and equivalence of organic certificates. It is important that the decisions taken are not one-sided and do not lead to restrictive measures.

Therefore, I ask the board member companies to initiate such discussions with foreign regulators. I think this is in our common interests.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Considering the importance of this area for the Russian and international agenda, I propose to begin our meeting today with the topic of the global energy transition.

By tradition, my deputies and profile ministers are with us today. They will be able to clarify the position on the issues of interest to you.

Thank you for the attention.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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