SPIEF Session ‘Russia's Regions: New Areas of Growth’ in Kaliningrad Region

On 13 December 2017, the Roscongress Foundation, in conjunction with the Russian Export Center and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, sponsored an offsite SPIEF session focusing on “Russia’s regions: New areas of growth. Investment in the real sector” in Svetlogorsk, Kaliningrad Region. The last in this year’s series, the session was aimed at expanding investment opportunities, enhancing the export potential of the regions and promoting certain territories in 2017.

The “New areas of growth” session in the Kaliningrad Region sparked great interest among both the Region’s authorities and entrepreneurs. Input from leading investment experts, employees of non-governmental organizations and journalists was a special highlight of the discussions.

The plenary session was attended by Deputy Prime Minister of the Kaliningrad Region Alexander Shenderyuk-Zhidkov; Regional Communications Director of the Russian Export Centre Dmitry Makeyev; Roscongress project manager and Head of the investment climate development department at the Agency for Strategic Initiatives Vitaly Khramushin; member of the board, MSP Corporation Director for International Operations Nikita Bantsekin; Head of the Consulting Centre of the Industry Development Foundation Anna Simanovskaya; Investment Policy Advisor to the Governor of the Kaliningrad Region and Deputy Director of Infamed K Andrei Gorokhov; Director, CIS EY Knowledge Leader Alexey Rybnikov; as well as Director of UK Sodrugestvo LLC Dmitry Savenkov.

Discussions at the plenary session centred on setting up institutions and mechanisms to boost the regions’ industrial development. Highlighting the progress achieved in this area, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kaliningrad Region Alexander Shenderyuk-Zhidkov stressed: “The Government of the Kaliningrad Region’s approach to working with business is based on three principles. First: a transparent and affordable tax burden for entrepreneurs. Second: an affordable infrastructure. We are creating technoparks and helping investors resolve infrastructure issues wherever they develop. And finally, third: transparent and affordable regulations, including “one-stop-shops”, reform of control and supervision and a reduction in the number of inspections. The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum provides us with an excellent opportunity for an expert assessment of the results of this work and for a professional expert review of regional practices”.

Participants also zoomed in on attracting investment into the real sector. They discussed different financing options and ways to seek and implement suitable technological solutions, as well as analyzing the main markets, both domestic and international.

“The IDF lends at a discounted rate of 1% or 5% for establishing or upgrading import-substituting manufacturing facilities. The Kaliningrad Region is home to a substantial industrial potential and we appreciate the opportunity to tell manufacturers directly about the IDF’s capabilities. A series of field SPIEF sessions organized by the Roscongress Foundation will help build a constructive dialogue between development institutions and local manufacturers. We are counting on this leading to an eventual increase in the number of applications and projects coming from various Russian regions”, Head of the Consulting Centre of the Industry Development Foundation Anna Simanovskaya said.

The second part of the business programme involved a special briefing session by the Russian Export Centre held specifically to acquaint the guests with its algorithm for implementing a comprehensive approach to exporting services, including provision of educational, information, analytical, consultation and other types of support at all stages of the export cycle, as well as the procedure for adjusting and improving its trade fair practices and organizing business missions of Russian exporters abroad. Moreover, the session also addressed such topics as export education, new business opportunities in insurance, credit and guarantee instruments designed to provide financial support to exporters.

Summing up, Director of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Alexey Valkov said, to emphasize the importance of organizing SPIEF field sessions in the regions: “We have created a unique format when, within the space of one year and the framework of one event, we allow representatives of the government, small and medium-sized businesses and major corporations, industrial companies and business circles to meet in different regions of Russia and discuss local problems of their specific city, region or district rather than global issues and, even more importantly, come up with actual solutions. I am quite convinced that such events and discussions act as a meaningful driver of regional development. We will be happy to see all participants in our offsite sessions at our key event – the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum – in May 2018, so that we can draw the bottom-line under what we have already achieved and make more plans for the future.”

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will take place in St Petersburg on 24–26 May 2018.