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Russian summit on the island of "Russian"

Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 16:30

Summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) on the island of Russian near Vladivostok that was planned for September 2012 is known by the Russian average man by the official news about the large-scale works for the construction of infrastructure. This by-side of the major international events overshadowed the main content of the upcoming forum and the gains that Russia can obtain in the right direction of its policy.
Russia filed the application for membership in the APEC in March 1995, and three years later at the Vancouver summit, it was accepted into the organization as a full member. In November 1998, at the initiative of the Russian Foreign Ministry was formed the "APEC Business Club" - an informal association of representatives of Russian business oriented in its activities in the Asian-Pacific region. It included over 50 major Russian companies and banks, but due to the objective domestic economic problems, in the next years the Russian side did not continue the momentum toward integration with the countries of the APEC.
The first important event in Russia within the APEC Forum was held in May 2001 in Moscow, it was a meeting of the Business Advisory Council (BAC), which was attended by about 100 representatives of business elite of the APEC countries. In 2002, Russia hosted the Forum on business cooperation in the field of innovative entrepreneurship in May. In September 2002, in Vladivostok, on the initiative of local authorities, supported by the Russian government and the formal structures of the international organizations, was held an investment symposium and the APEC Investment Fair.
A fundamental step towards the revitalization of Russia's participation in APEC activities was the development of the state concept, which was outlined by the President Putin during the APEC summit in Bangkok in October 2003. In his speech, he declared that "Russian policy on the further development of comprehensive cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region - is our conscious choice."
On the initiative of Putin the place for the first "Russian" APEC summit in 2007 was the Russian island. At that time there was the beginning of the construction of two bridges to the mainland, and the buildings that will be provided to the Far Eastern Federal University at the end of the international meeting.
The question of image
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in the fall of 2010 in the interview to the Korean newspaper "Jungang Ilbo", said that the APEC summit will boost the image of the eastern regions of Russia and will open new economic outlook. "The implementation of the APEC forum under Russia's chairmanship is a task of paramount importance for us - he said. - This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the potential of Siberia and the Far East, to connect partners to work on their development, to make a significant application for full participation of Russia in the mechanisms of regional economic integration, and on a wide range of issues, including cooperation in high-tech fields. We will try to maximize this unique opportunity to fundamentally change the image of Vladivostok and the eastern part of Russia and to open up the broad new perspectives for the region".
The significance of the summit in Russia is determined primarily by the fact that for the first time such a large-scale international event will be held in the eastern part of the country. In the opinion of the organizers of the summit, the construction of infrastructure facilities on the island of Russian should mobilize the industrial potential of the region and attract foreign investors, who will be involved in Russia's internal processes and continue business after 2012.
The tremendous burden
Difficulties in the construction of facilities on the island of Russian, which must be overcome by the summit organizers, demonstrated how difficult the task was. "The Chairmanship in APEC – is not only an honor but also a tremendous burden," - Lavrov said, referring to the full range of foreign and especially domestic problems which were faced by the administration. However, the vast majority of problems, reflecting the legitimate problems of the APEC, were "inherited" by the summit organizers of 2012 from prior-chairwoman.
At the APEC conference repeatedly raised the issue of the Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) as a zone of free trade and investment. However, the heterogeneity of the participating countries prevents the execution of these plans. Therefore, the APEC is only a discussion forum that has some features of the integrated union. The plans for the formation of a free trade area and for achieving greater integration were repeatedly corrected and postponed.
However, the main objective of APEC is promoting mutual trade and mutual investments. It is officially declared that, when making the efforts to establish a free zone investment, the APEC members are taking measures to encourage capital flow between countries of the region: they reduce the number of sectors closed to foreign direct investment, simplify the visa regime for businessmen, and provide greater access to the economic information.
The main problem facing Russia in connection with the summit on the island of Russian is a small degree of its involvement in trade relations with the countries of the APEC. The APEC partners account approximately 20% of foreign trade of the Russian Federation. In absolute figures, this index is inferior to the volume of trade between the leading countries in the region, such as China and the USA. Low rates of turnover are due to transport problems, lack of productive cooperation, and unattractiveness of Russia's eastern regions in terms of long-term investments.
Start with raw materials, end with people
Experts believe that the accelerated development of the region and its integration into the economic system of the Asia-Pacific region can begin with the development of natural resources. This way, being the most profitable one, is familiar to Russia and has better performance in terms of predictability of the outcome of the investment, and it is reasonably considered as the most suitable for the eastern regions of Russia.
"The role of some kind of an engine in this case should be done by the region's natural resources, especially energy resources. This work, together with the creation of roads, railways, with the construction of gas pipeline network for the gasification of the Khabarovsk and Primorye territories, and the pipeline East Siberia - Pacific Ocean, with the modernization of airports and seaports are designed to ensure rapid economic expansion,"- said the Deputy Director of Russian Research Center, Ivashentsov in an interview with "Nezavisimaya Gazeta".
The expert is convinced that the oil and gas industry would "pull over the building - both commercial and residential, metallurgy and machinery, including shipbuilding". A further prediction fits into the framework of classical concepts of the model of social impact of a successful market economy. Bridging the infrastructure division, cultural backwardness should affect the demographic situation and the "quality" of the population that is to reduce crime, alcohol and drug use. Thus, the ultimate goal of integration processes in Eastern Siberia and the Primorye territory in the APEC economic system must become the change of trend of decline and decomposition for the stabilization and progress.
Evaluating the most promising investment projects, the experts say about the development of Euro-Asian transport corridors, power generation, including the projects related to the peaceful atom. But it is also important to put educational projects, food and environmental programs on the "agenda".
Based upon the external world
The expert community believes that there is need to establish good relations with partners in the Asia Pacific region for the successful implementation of ambitious economic program. At the same time, the economic integration provides foreign policy successes and in some ways it is "tying" the state to each other, leveling the objective contradictions.
It must be recognized, that the eastern direction of foreign policy historically became Russia's predominant for short periods of time and usually under the influence of military confrontations. In Russia there is no comprehensive and coherent strategy of behavior in the Asia-Pacific region, as there were no proposals that can unite all the members of the APEC. In the twelve years of full participation in the Forum Russia proposed a number of initiatives to combat natural disasters and terrorism, which, however, only indirectly affected the basic - economic – subject of the organization.
For this reason, the APEC summit on the island of Russian can be considered successful only if there is the start of a series of economic projects, each of which will be the link in the chain of complex socio-economic development programs in Eastern Siberia and the Far East. The ambitious project of the Summit 2012 is capable to be destroyed not only by the lack of initiatives or investments that can be avoided, but the inconsistency, fragmentation of investment flows and political efforts.

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