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Cluster is a source of high quality investment offers

The guest of our column today is the Director, the Association of clusters and technology parks of Russia Andrey SHPILENKO.

Omsky Biocluster: Good afternoon, Mr. SHPILENKO!

Andrey SHPILENKO: Good afternoon!

What are industrial clusters and how do they differ from the existing business relations of companies?

Unlike companies connected by economic relations, an industrial cluster is a form (mechanism) of organization of industrial enterprises, fixed in federal legislation, connected by relations of geographical proximity and functional dependence. Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated July 31, 2015 No. 779 'On Industrial Clusters and Specialized Organizations of Industrial Clusters' established clear requirements that the clusters must meet to be included in the industrial clusters register of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.

That is, it is impossible to simply call yourself a cluster, it is necessary to meet certain legal requirements.

... which characterize industrial enterprises and service infrastructure not just as a set of organizations, but as consistently connected technological chains of production and services.

And what are these requirements?

These are requirements for the level of the cluster members cooperation, for the dynamics of labor productivity of cluster members, for the share of high-performance jobs, for the presence of a specialized structure that organizes interaction between cluster members, government, municipalities, development institutions, business, science and education institutions and etc., to the presence of partnerships with industrial, technological, scientific and educational infrastructure.

In addition, the creation and development of an industrial cluster is carried out in coordination with the Russian regional administrations and is supervised at the federal level by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.

Is it right to say that each industrial region should form a clear and understandable concept for the development of industrial clusters on its territory?

Despite the fact that the mechanism of industrial clusters is becoming more and more popular among industrial enterprises in various regions of Russia every year, it is impossible to speak about the existence of a regional cluster development concept formed at the regional level. This approach to the formation of clusters has proven its effectiveness. In addition, the implementation of cluster policy in the region requires the legitimization of clear and transparent ways to develop clusters, as well as to form measures of financial and non-financial support for their participants in order to stimulate the implementation of new investment projects.

Do you mean regional cluster statutes?

No, after all statutes are already implementation tools. Now the use of the cluster approach as a principle of building the economy has already taken one of the key places in the strategies of socio-economic development of Russian regions and municipalities. But the detailing is in specific laws on regional taxes, investment activities, acts of local communities, etc.

And I would especially like to note: practice has shown that forcing a business to implement tasks of regional and federal importance without clear conditions for it to participate in this process and benefits in the form of obtaining preferences (including regulatory ones) will not initially be a success story.

As a specialized Association, we fully support the initiative of those Russian regions that, within their legislation, determine the development priorities of industrial clusters and secure support measures for their participants. Such a strategy makes it possible to increase the investment attractiveness of the Russian regions, create favorable conditions for doing business, and begin implementing new investment projects aimed at producing new types of industrial products with high added value.

What are the basic differences between Russian clusters and their foreign counterparts?

The overwhelming majority of foreign countries do not have clear criteria for confirming the status of the cluster, as well as the requirements for their members. The cluster is considered to be an informal association of companies, representatives of the academic environment and representatives of public authorities, created according to a sectoral principle and functioning in order to implement certain sectoral areas.

Could you give examples, explain to our readers?

Ok. For example, Germany supports cluster initiatives of sectoral groups of companies operating in priority industries and technological areas. The purpose of forming clusters is to unite the efforts of their participants to conquer leading market positions through the development of related competencies, restructuring value chains, opening new interdisciplinary scientific and applied areas. One of the features of cluster policy in Germany is the development of clusters of macroregions. The purpose of such a measure is to combine the efforts of two or more regions with complementary competencies, to strengthen both regional economies and core industries as a whole. Within the joint innovation strategy of the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg (InnoBB), five priority directions for the development of clusters were identified: healthcare, biomedical technologies and pharmaceuticals, energy, ICT and new media, photonics, logistics and transport systems technologies. Coordination is carried out within the framework of a specialized management organization whose purpose is to promote clusters, develop and implement joint cooperation strategies and project structures. The main tasks are to promote the transfer of knowledge and technology, the development of international collaboration, raising EU funds.

At the same time, due to the absence of strict requirements for participants in such initiatives, clusters of Germany can unite from 500 to 36,500 organizations on the principle of enlarged activity.

A similar situation can be observed in France and China, where clusters are called nominal associations of 100 or more companies formed according to a sectoral basis.

But in Russia? The 'cluster' concept is enshrined in law, right?

Russian law approved only one type of clusters to which state support measures apply, this is an industrial cluster. The definition of an industrial cluster is contained in Federal Statute No. 488-FZ of December 31, 2014 'On Industrial Policy in the Russian Federation'. Now, the creation and development of industrial clusters is considered as one of the key tools to increase the investment attractiveness of Russia and its regions, the mass introduction of advanced production technologies, the localization of production and the implementation of new investment projects.

It is important that the mechanism of industrial clusters fully meets the objectives set by Presidential Decree No. 204 of May 7, 2018 'On the National Goals and Strategic Objectives of the Development of the Russian Federation for the Period up to 2024', and is the only measure of support in Russia covering the entire list of costs required to start production of a new type of industrial products, as well as an effective tool to stimulate industrial enterprises to increase economic independence within countries (essentially recreating broken earlier cooperation links) through the creation of new and integration into existing production chains.

How many clusters are there in Russia today?

Now, 43 industrial clusters in 32 regions of Russia function on the territory of the Russian Federation, all of them have been accredited and included in the industrial clusters register of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.

The cluster includes more than 600 industrial enterprises, and the volume of output exceeds 1.3 trillion RUR ($ 20.32 billion), which is 1.4% of the country's gross national income. Since the launch of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia program to support joint (investment) projects of the participants, 22 projects received support totaling 5.9 billion RUR ($92.23 million), and their total capital intensity exceeded 21.8 billion RUR ($ 340.78). The support was implemented in relation to such industrial cluster members as the GAZ Group, Arnest JSC, UMATEX Group, Monocrystal JSC and others, all of them are leaders in their industrial sectors.

Mr. SHPILENKO, earlier you mentioned cost subsidies. What key investment costs today are subsidized by the state budget when implementing cluster projects?

Now at the federal level, state support to participants of industrial clusters is carried out within the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated January 28, 2016 No. 41 "On approving the rules for granting subsidies to participants of industrial clusters from the federal budget to reimburse part of the costs for implementing joint projects for the production of import substitution. "

The support is provided by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia in terms of reimbursement at the expense of the federal budget up to 50% of the cost of implementing joint investment projects at all stages of cluster production. The grant is provided for the compensation of such activities as: leasing payments for equipment; payment of interest on loans for the purchase, delivery, installation and commissioning of new machinery and equipment, repayment of capital expenditures on the construction (reconstruction) of production facilities and other activities; the acquisition of technological equipment for hardware, software and software and hardware systems; development of design documentation, technologies and technological processes, etc.

As part of the implementation of the task set by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak, measures to support the participants of industrial clusters will be provided as part of the Government of the Russian Federation Resolution No. 1119 of October 30, 2014 "On the selection of regions of the Russian Federation that are entitled to receive state support in the form of subsidies for reimbursement of costs for the creation, modernization and (or) reconstruction of the infrastructure of industrial parks, industrial technology parks and technology parks in the field of high technologies". It is assumed that support will be provided to members of industrial clusters that implement joint projects aimed at localizing the production of components. A distinctive feature of this support measure will be the provision of subsidies for the creation of industrial facilities, engineering and technological infrastructure facilities (including the purchase of machinery and equipment). Now, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia, together with the Association, is developing amendments to the Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation of October 30, 2014, No. 1119.

On state support. What key adjustments to the existing format, in your opinion, would contribute to the most efficient development of clusters?

Accelerating the implementation of new investment projects (including within industrial clusters), attracting Russian and foreign investments into industry requires the stability and predictability of current legislation, as well as guarantees not to worsen the conditions for doing business in agreements concluded between the state and business. The condition for the real attractiveness of the Russian economy for investors is the creation of transparent, stable and understandable business conditions, and the rules of the game should not under any circumstances change.

Omsk region is a border area. We periodically discuss the formation of a cross-border agro-industrial cluster of Russia and Kazakhstan, since Omsk historically has close cooperation with the regions of Northern, Central and Eastern Kazakhstan. Your view on the prospects of such a cluster.

The Association fully supports the initiatives to form an interstate (cross-border) industrial cluster, especially within the Eurasian Economic Community. The creation of such a cluster will strengthen ties between industrial, educational and research organizations in Russia and Kazakhstan on topics of industrial cooperation, technological, educational, research collaboration, as well as accelerate the implementation of new strategic investment projects in the development of advanced processing of agricultural products and biotechnology. Taking into account that the Memorandum on the establishment of a cross-border agro-industrial cluster within the XIV-th Interregional Cooperation Forum has already been concluded between the Government of the Omsk region and the Government of the North-Kazakhstan region, the probability of forming a cross-border cluster in the near future is extremely high.

Two industrial clusters of the Omsk region (Agrobiotechnological and Petrochemical) were formed and registered in the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia in 2016. The key ideology lies in the deepest processing of raw materials (several stages) with the release of high-marginal final products. Why not hold a strategic session in Omsk specifically in the areas of cooperation in deep processing of raw materials and the creation of a cross-border cluster?

The importance of building cooperation ties and embedding domestic enterprises in the international value chains of high-tech products was pointed out by the President of Russia at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and National Projects.

Competition in the struggle to attract investment is increasing. As a consequence, a number of factors are important. This is an increase in the cooperation quality with business and the creation of favorable conditions for the implementation of new investment projects that correspond to the Russian Federation national priorities. In addition to other tools, the use of this mechanism for the regions of Russia in whose territory industrial clusters operate is also an effective way of attracting Russian and foreign direct investments. The cluster is a source of high-quality investment offers based on an analysis of the existing technological conversion of its participants. The fact that businesses have the opportunity to integrate into existing cooperation chains by implementing new investment projects in the industrial cluster and receiving state support for them in many ways helps to increase their investment activity and create new high-tech enterprises i n Russian regions.

In this regard, it is imperative to conduct comprehensive work with the business, to hold specialized events, business forums, strategic sessions where representatives of the business community will be informed about the benefits of creating industrial clusters, as well as the possibility of state support for the implementation of investment projects.

As a specialized Association, we are ready to take part in such events in the Omsk region as profile experts.

Mr. SHPILENKO, tell our readers about the Association of clusters and technology parks of Russia. How did the idea of creating the Association, which was the impetus?

Previously, there was a program to support technology parks in the field of high technologies, which was supervised by the Ministry of Communications of the Russian Federation. After the end of the program, it became necessary to create an organization that will be engaged in the development of technology parks and clusters. The idea of ​​creating the Association belongs to the business itself. It was the leaders of technology parks and clusters that were the main initiators of the Association. The decision was agreed with Igor SHCHEGOLEV, at that time the Minister of Communications of the Russian Federation, and in 2011 the Association was formed.

What are the functions of the Association today?

We believe that the main function of our Association is to promote the implementation of national projects to achieve the national development goals of the Russian Federation, in particular, through increasing the investment attractiveness of Russian regions. If we talk in detail. Search for promising investment projects (investment niches) in the regions of Russia, taking into account industry characteristics.

Since the times of the Soviet Union, the regions had specialization.

Of course, these are the natural advantages of each territory, which must be taken into account within the spatial development. For example, the Omsk region has equally developed both the agro-industry and the petrochemical industry, which contributed to the creation of the Agrobiotechnological and Petrochemical industrial clusters in the region.

About functions. Site selection and support of localization investment projects, search for Russian partners for joint implementation of the investment project, assistance in attracting investments and government support measures to accelerate the implementation of investment projects, support for investors in creating infrastructure for high-tech industries and developing cooperative ties.

I will note that the Association is constantly working together with the relevant state departments and Association members to improve the regulatory framework, increase the efficiency and transparency of state support measures for clusters and technology parks.

The Association provides business dialogue with federal and regional authorities, development institutions, pays great attention to the entry of Russian companies into foreign markets and the support of foreign investment and the transfer of advanced technologies to the Russian market. The international activities of the Association cover more than ten countries of the world.

Mr. SHPILENKO, you have visited many regions of Russia by virtue of your work. But if you abstract from the clusters topic and you hear 'Omsk', what associations do you have?

This is surprising, I associate 'Omsk' with clusters. Because I met the Omsk region through the implementation of cluster initiatives, and this is Agrobiotechnological and Petrochemical clusters. In 2016, I visited the industrial sites of Titan Group, whose key companies are part of Omsk clusters. And that's what I would like to point out. As we know, the policy of creating industrial clusters in some regions is based on the decisions and initiatives of the federal authorities. The situation in Omsk is somewhat different. Titan Group and personally the head of the company Mikhail SUTYAGINSKY completely independently, proceeding from the economic feasibility, their business development strategy, the strategy of import substitution, launched this system, functionally ensuring the interconnection of Omsk enterprises. Regardless of the documents adopted at the federal level, the measures of state support of industrial clusters.

Our traditional 'agro-cluster' question: what are your favorite cuisine dishes?

The answer lies in the list of those enterprises that are part of Omsky Biocluster. Because if you familiarize yourself with them, you can see a diverse range of dishes - ranging from aspic and ending with sweets. I really love it all.

Your wishes to Omsky Biocluster.

I would like to wish Omsky Biocluster high results in attracting investments, which will be possible on the basis of the analysis and identification of investment niches in the production chains, and to management and team - great creative success, reliable business partners and interesting discoveries.

Mr. SHPILENKO, thank you for the interview! Allow me to wish you not to stop there, and to all members of the Association - new high-tech projects and effective business!

Thank you!