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Putin signs law establishing Vladivostok as a free port

By The Siberian Times reporter
14 July 2015

Key move to revive Far Eastern economy and compete with Macau and Busan.

Based on Russia's Far East capital, the new legal framework, to last 70 years, unites ports in 15 cities near Vladivostok. Picture: Vladivostok community

The move gives huge tax advantages to locals while at the same time making the region more attractive to foreign investment, especially from China, Japan and South Korea. 

Based on Russia's Far East capital, the new legal framework, to last 70 years, unites ports in 15 cities near Vladivostok. Primorsky Territory Governor Vladimir Miklushevsky said it will make the city an attractive option for overseas trade and help stimulate the economy.

Key privileges for residents will be the possibility of obtaining state land, tax benefits on property and land, and the free customs zone. Crucially there will also be a simplified visa regime.

Direct state aid can be obtained for the construction of infrastructure, but the principal source of financing must be personal resources and the territory's budget.

Four zones are included in the new regime: a port and airport zone, an industrial zone, a scientific-promotional zone, and a tourist-recreational zone. An aim is to see Vladivostok compete more effectively with the likes of Macau - a long established free port - and Busan in South Korea. A gambling zone is also due to open soon in the region. 

Vladimir Putin spoke of the importance of the new development at the 19th St Petersburg International Economic Forum last month. 

He said it covers 'all key ports in Maritime Territory, from Zarubino to Nakhodka, and 13 districts that are home to about 75 per cent of the territory's residents.

'Free port residents will receive ample benefits. These are not just tax benefits, but also a simplified visa regime, the implementation of a free customs zone, and simplified border control procedures. 

'This September, the first Eastern Economic Forum will be held in Vladivostok, which will include a detailed presentation of our proposals to foreign investors.' He has said: 'A new investment space is taking shape.'

The president's representative in the Far East Yury Trutnev said recently: 'We have introduced a 'one-stop' principle of administrative procedures. Investors could resolve all related issues at one federal agency without having to run from one department to another.'

He said Russia's move on Vladivostok followed a study of Asia-Pacific countries in taxation, administrative regulations, tariffs and infrastructure, taking lessons from their methods. 

The measures so far - ahead of the free port law - have brought results. 

'The outflow of Far East locals has reduced by 50 percent,' he told Xinhua. 'People's life has been improving. Economic growth in the region has hit about 6 percent, and investment-attracting index has reached nearly 10 percent.'

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