(Moscow, 15 October 2012)
On 15 October 2012, Moscow hosted the 26th plenary session of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council in Russia (hereinafter – the "Session"), featuring forty-two of the world's top companies and banks.
Attending the Session was the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council in Russia, Mr. Dmitry Medvedev, who delivered his remarks.
The special motive that inspired the Session was Russia becoming a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2012. That event contributes towards the most efficient integration of the Russian Federation into the global economy and creates new opportunities for investment and long-term investment projects.
In his remarks, the Russian Prime Minister stressed that one of the Russian Government's key economic objectives was to improve the investment climate in Russia. He appreciated the contribution to this pursuit made by members of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council in Russia (FIAC) through facilitation of efficient communication between investors and government stakeholders to enhance the regulatory framework in the areas that entrepreneurs find most sensitive.
Since its inception, FIAC has produced good results in matters relating to the revision of the regulatory framework, promotion of the positive image of Russia abroad, enhancement of market regulation, and many others.
The participants of the Session expressed their opinion about the state of the Russian economy and highlighted some of its main trends.
In 2011, Russia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 4.3 percent, which was the top rate among Europe's largest economies and the third highest in the world, following that in China and India. In 2012, it is expected to rise by 3.5 percent. Inflation more than halved over the last four years (in 2008: 13.3 percent) to 6.1 percent in 2011. In the three quarters of 2012 ending 1 October 2012, inflation was 5.2 percent. Russia was among the leaders in terms of both the overall volume of foreign direct investments (FDI) accumulated in 2009-2011 and the FDI rate of growth. In 2011, Russia received a total of $52.9 billion in foreign investments (a rise of 22 percent from 2010).
Foreign investors find Russia an appealing country to invest in. This was also one of the conclusions of the study entitled "Investment Climate in Russia: 2012" which was presented during the Session. Initiated by FIAC members, the study was based on a survey of the opinions of foreign investors, both active and potential, who were doing business in Russia's real economy sector.
The participants of the Session discussed the results of the FIAC's activity conducted in the following areas.
Enhancing the electronic declaration system and continuing the transition to electronic document workflow, including the electronic docflow at the interagency level.
Optimizing customs administration by automating customs procedures, reducing the number of documents required from businesses involved in international commerce, omitting the unnecessary personal communication with customs officers, making it possible to perform customs operations remotely.
Relaxing permit laws for the import of the modern equipment that employs cryptography and is used for conducting tests to facilitate and streamline research and development (R&D) in the high tech sector.
Addressing logistical challenges, which includes the possibility of placing freight transportation within the area of competence of the FIAC Think Tank for Customs Regulation, and renaming the think tank accordingly.
Aligning Russian law with WTO standards and with Russia's commitments to the WTO with respect to product safety supervision and control. Optimizing the system of controls and permits in construction and commissioning of industrial facilities.
Introducing a register of adjustment invoices and a possibility to use combined adjustment invoices over a certain period.
Amending tax law by defining the notion of "stimulating payments (bonuses)" for VAT purposes.
Enhancing the banking sector and financial markets
Enhancing legislation on performance security, including collateral and other forms of loan security.
Stimulating commerce and the consumer market
JEnhancing the Customs Union Technical Regulation "On Packaging Safety" and adapting it to the current practices.
Aligning certain regulatory acts of the Russian Government with the provisions of Federal Law No. 381-FZ "On the Fundamental Principles of State Regulation of Trade in the Russian Federation."
Raising the efficiency of use of natural resources
Maintaining efficient communication with foreign investors to create a stable and predictable legal environment for developing minerals and promoting investment in the natural resources sector of the Russian economy, including remote regions and the continental shelf.
Designing and introducing market tools to stimulate and raise the involvement of the private sector, including tools to attract private investment in residential construction.
The following have been identified as the FIAC priorities for 2013:
Considering the priorities set for 2013, FIAC members will continue their collaboration with the relevant federal executive bodies to address the objectives and move forward along the avenues outlined above.
The Government of the Russian Federation regards the continuation of work within the framework of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council in Russia as one of the essential avenues of interaction with foreign partners for a long time to come.