What is the EEF (Eastern Economic Forum)?
Russia recently hosted the 7th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok. The forum provides a platform for entrepreneurs to expand their operations into Russia’s Far East (RFE).
The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) was established in 2015 to encourage foreign investments in the RFE. It displays the economic potential, suitable business conditions, and investment opportunities in the region.
The number of EEF agreements signed increased from 217 in 2017 to 380 in 2021, totaling 3.6 trillion roubles. The focus is on infrastructure, transportation projects, mineral excavations, construction, industry, and agriculture.
China, South Korea, Japan, and India are the key players in the region, where China is the biggest investor. China sees potential in promoting the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Polar Sea Route in the RFE. China’s investments in the region account for 90% of the total investments.
- Russia has strategically developed the region with the intention of connecting to the Asian trading routes.
- With the fast modernization of cities like Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita, and more, Russia aims to attract more foreign direct investment to the region.
- Last but not least, with the assistance of China and other Asian powers, to survive the economic crisis and sanctions.
What is the importance of the RFE?
- The region encompasses one-third of Russia’s territory and is rich in natural resources such as oil, natural gas, fish, wood, diamonds, and other minerals.
- The small population living in the region is another factor in encouraging people to move and work in the Far East.
- The region’s riches and resources contribute to 5 % of Russia’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
- Despite the abundance and availability of materials, procuring and supplying them is a challenge due to a lack of personnel.
- The RFE is geographically located in a strategic location, acting as a gateway into Asia.
There are benefits of being involved in the development of the RFE. Countries may not shy away from investing despite the current international conditions, where western countries impose sanctions on Russia. The coming together of countries like Myanmar, Armenia, Russia, and China for EEF seems like the forming of an Anti-Sanctions Group in the international order.