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Interview: Russia gives priority to development of Far East

MOSCOW, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Russia has given priority to the development of its Far East region, and it stands ready to boost cooperation with China in this regard, a senior Russian official has said.

The Russia government has been working on the creation of special conditions for investment in the Far East, such as simplifying administrative procedures and granting tax exemptions, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"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," said Trutnev, who is also Russia's presidential plenipotentiary envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the law on regions of priority development, while mechanisms to support investment projects have been established and the construction of infrastructure is underway, he said.

"A new investment space is taking shape," he added.

In order to attract investment, Trutnev said, Russia studied the experience of Asia-Pacific countries in taxation, administrative regulations, tariffs and infrastructure, and absorbed their essence.

The measures have yielded initial results, he noted.

"The outflow of Far East locals has reduced by 50 percent. 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," he added.

The progress in the Far East is obviously faster than other regions of the country, and "we are getting close to the targeted goal," said the official.

The State Duma, or the lower house of Russian Parliament, passed Friday the bill "On the Free Port of Vladivostok" in the third reading, which was designed to create favorable conditions to boost the socio-economic development of the Far East by expanding cross-border trade and developing transport infrastructure.

Trutnev believed that the port of Vladivostok should become an economically-magnetic port like the famous ports in Singapore and Busan, South Korea.

The Russian government sees the port, airport and nearby region of Vladivostok as a whole, where administrative and customs clearance procedures should be simplified to the utmost, he stressed.

Speaking of Russia-China cooperation in developing the Far East, Trutnev said China is a major friend and economic partner of Russia, and Moscow is interested in its collaboration with Beijing.

There are a number of projects that can be carried out jointly with Chinese enterprises, he added.

The East Russia Economic Forum is scheduled to be held in September, which is aimed at stepping up the economic development in the Far East. Putin is expected to attend the forum.

The forum is open to the Asia-Pacific region, and is dedicated to promoting the investment environment in the Far East to Asian business community, so as to beef up the integration of Russia's Far East with Asia-Pacific countries, Trutnev said.

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