(Moscow, 20 October 2008)
The Twenty-Second Session of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council was held in Moscow on 20 October 2008.
In his address, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin noted that the Foreign Investment Advisory Council session was being held at a difficult time for the world economy. And this made it all the more important, the Chairman of the Russian Government stressed, that attendees, major international investors on the Advisory Council, looking realistically at the world investment market, maintain and develop their business in Russia and continue an active dialogue with the Russian Government to further improve the investment climate and business conditions for entrepreneurs.
The attendees noted that the Russian economy has been developing at a rapid pace for quite some time. Russian GDP growth in 2007 was higher than initially forecasted and amounted to 108.1%. In 2007, Russia was ranked 7th in the world in terms of GDP by purchasing power parity (more than USD 1,900 billion), behind only USA, China, Japan, India, Germany, and Great Britain. The Russian economy has a substantial margin of safety as well as mechanisms in place for overcoming the world financial crisis with minimum losses.
On the whole, Russia is maintaining a quite favorable economic situation for long-term investments. Measures are being taken to stimulate investment processes. Foreign investors taking part in the session appreciate the Russian Government’s steady commitment to improve business conditions, and they have a high opinion of the efforts being made to ensure sustainable economic development and stabilize the financial market.
FIAC member companies were actively involved in formulating proposals with respect to draft laws and regulatory acts that determine business conditions.
The year 2008 has seen the completion and passage of the Law "Concerning the Procedure for Foreign Investments in Enterprises of Strategic Importance for National Defense and State Security", establishing a legal framework and mechanisms for foreign investors acquiring interests in such enterprises.
Amendments to the Law "Concerning Concession Agreements" have been passed, and the Statute "Concerning the Investment Fund of the Russian Federation" has been amended to improve investment conditions based on principles of public-private partnership.
A draft law has been prepared amending the federal laws "Concerning Banks and Banking Activities" and "Concerning the Central Bank of the Russian Federation – the Bank of Russia" to improve the conditions for risk management and banking supervision on a consolidated basis.
The Statute "Concerning the Insurance Reserves of Non-State Pension Funds" has been approved.
A draft government decree has been prepared "Concerning Application of Import Customs Duties on Auto Parts Imported for Assemblies".
A conception for the draft law on amendments to the Customs Code of the Russian Federation and the Administrative Offense Code of the Russian Federation has been prepared as related to introducing the institution of authorized consignees.
A federal draft law has been prepared on accession to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Kyoto Convention), as amended by the 1999 Brussels Protocol.
A government regulation "Concerning the Plan of Measures for Conversion to Electronic Documents for Accounting, Tax and Financial Purposes" has been drafted and is currently being approved.
The draft law "Concerning Amendments to the Federal Law ‘Concerning Archiving in the Russian Federation’ Introducing Procedures for Storing Electronic Documents" has been submitted for consideration by the Russian Government.
FIAC members have taken a number of measures to improve Russia’s image abroad. A new report on Russia’s attractiveness for investors, based on interviews with the heads of fifty-one international corporations, has been presented. The chief executives of companies on the Foreign Investment Advisory Council were involved in the Twelfth International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg and a campaign has been launched to ensure that the Russian economy is covered with objectivity in the foreign mass media. Special attention was devoted to preparing Russia Beyond the Headlines supplements to The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, presenting comments of the chief executives of FIAC member companies on the state of the Russian economy and a positive image of Russia.
A survey of company executives illustrating the positive dynamics of Russia’s investment climate was presented at a roundtable on "Corporate Governance in Russia as Seen by Foreign Investors" at the Twelfth International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.
A brochure has been put out describing the achievements and successful development of foreign business in Russia. At the International Investment Forum Sochi-2008, FIAC members assisted in holding a roundtable on "The Russian Brand" designed to give potential investors a positive image of Russia.
Russia is increasingly becoming a full-fledged player on the international labor market, thus guaranteeing the basic rights and liberties of foreign nationals.
The Russian Government has approved the "Conception for Labor Market Measures in 2008-2010" providing for listing, based on the employers' estimated demand, jobs for which there is a shortage of candidates not subject to quotas for foreign nationals. Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development approved a list of jobs for qualified specialists to which annual work-permit quotas for foreign nationals do not apply. In order to further improve business conditions, those taking part in the session will concentrate their efforts on the following priority tasks.