Improving investment opportunities
Igor Shuvalov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
It might not be quite fair to assess Russia’s attractiveness ourselves, as it is foreign investors who must have their say. Of course, international ratings show that we still have a lot to do. For example, although we have climbed up four positions in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, we are still 120th.
However, I can say that all these years we have remained consistent and resolute, albeit not always as fast as we would like, in removing obstacles hindering the inflow of foreign capital into our country. We have improved our laws in line with global best practices and worked to make the system for passing court rulings more transparent. A most important achievement is the accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Finally, the Customs Union significantly increased the size of the domestic market.
As a result, we have a positive trend: the net inflow of foreign direct investments (FDI) amounted to US$53b in 2011. Since the autumn of 2010, when I started working as an ombudsman, we have reviewed around 100 complaints from foreign investors. We have managed to resolve most of the issues and find positive solutions.
The Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC) brings together more than 40 major global companies operating in Russia. The Council provides an important and useful forum to handle issues related to investment activities in Russia.
Russia is a net exporter of capital. Last year, according to the Bank of Russia, our country invested US$76b in other countries on a net basis, i.e., net of investments in Russia.
Money is thus not the main reason why we need foreign investors. It is no secret that, in terms of their legal status, many foreign investments are, in fact, made with money that was previously taken out of Russia. We therefore need real foreign investors to signal that the situation in Russia has improved and there are proper conditions for investment.
And there is one more important thing. Foreign investments are primarily associated with innovative technologies, managerial experience, modern standards of production and market relations — and this is exactly what our economy really needs today.