Non-resource export as economics driver
On March 22, the Engineering building of SEZ “Tomsk” accepted an interregional export forum “Made in Russia”, which was organized by Tomsk CCI together with JSC “Russian Export Center” with the support of Tomsk Oblast Administration and plenipotentiary representative of the RF president in Siberian Federal District.
PRESIDENT SETS A TASK
This forum became one of the first platforms in Russia where power, business, development institutes, and scientific community discussed the ways for non-energy export development. This task was set by the President of Russia to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
More than 250 representatives of business and authorities from Tomsk, Kemerovo, Omsk, Novosibirsk Oblasts, Altai Krai, management and experts of JSC “Russian Export Center” took part in the discussion of topical issues of the export sphere development as well as members of Russian Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry, regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry and export support centers.
The main questions of the forum were: How could authorities, regions, JSC "REC" and business community build an effective cooperation to solve the tasks set by Russian president? Which mechanisms of business support should be elaborated to ensure the growth of non-resource export in Siberia? Which were the promising trends for the export of Russian products? How to ensure the growth of sales of the exporters and the advent of new participants in foreign economic activity?
Plenary discussion "The development of non-resource export – regional economic growth engine" was opened by Andrey Antonov, Deputy Governor of Tomsk Oblast.
He said: “Russian President Vladimir Putin in a message to the Federal Assembly marked that one of the main sources of the Russian economy growth was non-energy export namely, and set a mission to double its volume and bring it to $ 250 billion in the next six years”.
Our region uses all possible tools to solve this problem. Tomsk Oblast is an active participant in the activities of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia to support export-oriented small and medium-sized businesses. Last year, REC point in the region was opened on the basis of Tomsk CCI as a single-window system for export-oriented enterprises. Business missions, training sessions and courses for foreign economic activity are always organized for Tomsk businessmen. In 2017, as a result, Tomsk exporters concluded more than 150 export contracts, and the number of small and medium-sized exporters during the last three years was doubled.
EDUCATION AND INNOVATIONS FOR EXPORT
Deputy General Director of JSC "REC" Boris Igoshin marked special importance of educational services and innovative technologies export, which could create a qualitative jump in the growth of non-resource export. He said that at the end of April and the beginning of May, REC would hold a strategic session dedicated to the export of services. Boris Igoshin encouraged Tomsk business community to participate actively in the preparation of session.
Georgy Petrov, the advisor to the President of Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called for wider use of the world system of chambers of commerce and industry, which was present in almost all countries, to assist Russian export-oriented businesses:
He said: “That day, the world competition had become extremely aggravated. In addition, Russia was under the great number of economic sanctions. Nevertheless, our country had to develop actively non-resource export, which could serve as a driver of Russian economy. It will solve the task set by the president of Russia - to make the growth of the Russian economy higher than worldwide average. In addition, we still had much to do to improve the domestic business climate”.
He emphasized that Tomsk CCI was the entry point to “service menu” for the exporters which JSC “REC” offered.
Panel discussion was actively attended by Tomsk businessmen, representing "Oiltim", "Elcom +", "Artlife" companies, etc. Speakers focused attention on the problems arising in the course of export activities. These were the risks of non-payment by the foreign partner for the performed work, difficulties with customs formalities, difficulties with the legal support of foreign economic activities, the lack of agreements with many countries about mutual recognition of diplomas, etc. All forum participants were sure that trade with foreign partners should be developed in every possible way, but, for the last century quarter of the existence of Russian free market, the mechanisms for organizing and supporting this process were far from complete satisfaction of private business. Perhaps, only the scientific and educational sphere was in more or less good state. Petr Chubik, rector of Tomsk Polytechnic University noted that the export of educational services was a bit one-sided.
- It’s easy to see that the competences of our universities are in demand mainly among applicants from the near abroad, in particular, the Asian republics of the former USSR. We would like to see that after diplomas reception all these specialists remain working in Russia. However, it is necessary to develop our infrastructure, improve the local conditions for work and life.
Round tables also took place within the framework of the forum. Arkady Eskin, the representative of the Tomsk CCI, and Andrey Zhigalov (REC), moderated the discussion “On the Possibility of non-resource export support” by regional authorities and JSC "REC".
Having recalled about the task of returning to our old traditional markets set by Russian president, Arkady Eskin introduced the results of rapid analysis to the audience, which goal was to find out which geographic areas our business considered the most promising for foreign economic activity, and which obstacles he saw from the both sides.
- There is a certain number of "myths" and prejudices concerning the markets of EAEC countries and post-Soviet space as a whole, "the moderator explained. - In particular, small capacity, low purchasing power and absence of demand of our high-tech goods, inability to accept and to adapt it.
Then the president of Tomsk CCI cited the most typical myths:
-The multimillion markets of China, Middle East and Southeast Asia are "everything" for us. These are the markets that you really need to strive for. It reflects a distorted, faulty perception, when market capacity becomes a key factor and the existing difficulties and barriers are not taken into account. At the same time, success stories of Tomsk business on the Chinese and Indian sectors can be counted on fingers, despite of serious resource costs. It is necessary to recognize that in the current political and economic situation, access to foreign markets with our products is a costly event. The markets of post-Soviet space, where Mongolia can be included, are not alien for us, and these countries are ready for mutual beneficial cooperation
Next myth. We are not preferable, these markets are closed to us, they have no money. In reality, the situation is reversed. We were not expelled from there. We left these markets by our own, and our place was taken by other producers. It is China in Central Asia. Germany, Georgia, Bulgaria are in Armenia. In Belarus everything is also not so simple. We have to compete with them, make them squeeze, fight world leaders for the place in our traditional markets ... Without us, these markets will be occupied by the others. For example, at present time, state projects of national digitalization of the economy are being implemented in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. These are exactly the areas where Tomsk high-tech companies can find their place.
Myth No. 3: we are better, our products have outstripped them by a generation. We hear this statement often in relation to Kyrgyzstan. But such a position indicates an ignorance of the real situation and the state of affairs in the country. As for Uzbekistan, we can say that we have Klondike near us, and it's time to explore it. This is a country with a 30 millionth market, which launched the process of industrial modernization. In aggregate, the market of Central Asia exceeds 50 million people.
Arkady Eskin showed other myths. For example, "Belarusian phenomenon" is a consequence of insufficient attention to other markets; Russian laws and conditions for export make the most important obstacle for foreign economic activity; the countries of the EAEC and post-Soviet space as a whole are territories with a poorly educated and incapable population. The common cultural and linguistic space is still preserved, and the promotion of educational services to these countries strengthens and hardens the environment, creating a favorable space for business. On the other hand, it creates a layer of people oriented towards us, our production and our standards.
Conclusions from the abovementioned were formulated in the form of specific proposals which were included in forum resolution and were sent to Sergey Zhvachkin, the governor of Tomsk region, and to JSC "REC" and RF CCI.
«FINE TUNING» IS NECESSARY
The problems and opportunities of local manufacturers were discussed at the round table "State support as export catalyst for Tomsk Oblast". Businessmen talked about their experience of cooperation with JSC REC in open dialogue format, shared best practices and expressed their wishes concerning the activity of REC "point of presence" in our region.
According to the representatives of Tomsk companies such as ArtLife, GK "Siberian Agrarian Group", TPK "SAVA", JSC "Mezheninovskaya Poultry Factory", "Novaya Khimiya", "Telebriz", GK "Alfatek" business opportunities are often limited by insufficiently operational feedback from the state institutions of export support, and sometimes - limited resources for participants of some events.
The proposals and claims were taken into account by the experts of JSC "Russian Export Center", who promised to make adjustments to the operating mode of REC.
-"Undoubtedly, today's dialogue is useful not only for businessmen, but also for us," said Boris Igoshin, representative of JSC "REC". - Let's show understanding - REC, as an institution, is still very young while its tuning is taking place. And it’s very important for us to know the appearing business problems in order to conduct this fine-tuning.
REGIONS WANT TO BE HEARD
As a result of work of Tomsk forum, a number of specific proposals was adopted to ensure the promotion of regional export-oriented enterprises to foreign markets. All representatives of the companies participating in this event had the opportunity for live, including informal, communication with the specialists of REC, RF CCI, and for the report of their proposals and requests.
"Even those who didn’t have a chance to receive the required answer to their questions today know now who to contact, because there was contacts exchange between businessmen and representatives of REC and CCI," said Georgy Petrov, adviser to president of RF CCI. - I remember that during the Soviet times for the director of the plant the most troublesome thing was getting an order for export from the “top” – they refused from such an honor as much as they could. Therefore, I am glad that in new Russia private companies really want to export be their own.
According to Andrey Antonov, vice-governor of Oblast for economy, the regional government also intends to take to task the information, received at the forum: "The materials that were prepared following the results of the forum, we intend to use to support business. It would be nice at least once a year to meet at the same format to solve jointly the emerging problems of the exporters. "
Президент Томской ТПП Аркадий Эскин подчеркнул, что на форуме не было «свадебных генералов», поэтому дискуссия получилась продуктивной и острой.
Arkady Eskin, President of Tomsk CCI marked that there were no "wedding generals" at the forum, so the discussion turned out to be productive and acute.
- Export promotion is the peak of successful managerial and production activity. My personal request to the representatives of REC – please, convey the concern to your “top”: regions they want to be heard. Here we do not talk about abstract concepts that cover global collisions, we voice only what business really needs onsite. Therefore, today we had an opportunity to hear representatives of Kuzbass, Altai Krai, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Omsk, other cities and regions. In order to understand what real businessmen need, let's meet not only at the meetings in Moscow, but also in the regions.