Foreign Economic, International and Inter-Regional Cooperation
Priority tasks of the Government of the Republic of Karelia in the sphere of foreign economic, international and inter-regional cooperation is attraction of additional resources for further social and economic development of the republic, development of new transit corridors, support of the image and investment prospects of the republic.
In the context of Russia's accession to WTO the necessity of rendering assistance to promotion of Karelian goods and services in the Russian and foreign markets has grown stronger.
A number of information events concerning Russia's WTO membership had been held. Informing of the business community on the foreign economic activity was accomplished through the Republic of Karelia's official Internet Portal, at meetings and conferences, as well as through cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Karelia, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Employers) of the Republic of Karelia.
On the results of 2013 the foreign trade volume has made $1399 million (taking into account the foreign trade turnover with the Republic of Belarus, export and import of services) and has reduced by 16.6% to the level of 2012, the export volume has reduced by 12.3%, import - by 30.9%.
The export volume has exceeded the volume of import of goods and services more than 4 times. Outward the Russian Federation it has been directed
About one third of all production made in the republic, including paper, iron-ore raw materials, wood, aluminium, cellulose was delivered outside the territory of the Russian Federation.
In 2013 the enterprises and organizations of the republic supported trade and economic relations with 115 countries. The share of countries of the far abroad in commodity circulation was more than 90%. The largest trading partners were Finland, Turkey and India, their share in commodity circulation has made 40%.
Reduction of the volume of export of goods and services from the republic in 2013 was caused by adverse conjuncture in global markets, high degree of uncertainty of global economy development prospects, decrease in its rates of growth, astable situation in the financial markets. The largest enterprises-exporters in 2013 were Karelsky Okatysh (Karelia Iron-Ore Pellets) Inc., Kondopoga Inc., Segezha Pulp and Paper Mill Inc., Siberian-Urals Aluminium Company Inc., Setles Ltd., Solomenoye Sawmill JSC, Alternativa JSC, SwedWoof Karelia Ltd., Ladenso Inc., Pitkäranta PULP Ltd.
Products of chemical industry (its share in import has made 29%), industrial and electrical equipment (25%), services (10 %), ferrous materials and articles made therefrom (9%) prevailed in structure of import of goods and services.
Considerable structural changes have occurred in commodity structure of import. The volume of import of cars, equipment and vehicles has reduced more than twice, cost of production of chemical industry has decreased by 29%, the volume of import of articles of food has increased by 23%, the share of timber, paper and articles made therefrom has increased by 7,1 percentage points at 67% of cost increase.
Cost of import purchases in the far abroad countries has made 87.7% from the total cost of import.
In 2013 work on further development of inter-regional cooperation between the Republic of Karelia and constituent entities of the Russian Federation was in progress.
The republic supports trade and economic relations with 70 constituent entities of the Russian Federation, 20 agreements between the Government of the Republic of Karelia and Governments of regions of Russia and the CIS countries operate. Last year the Protocol on implementation of the Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Belarus (November, 2013); the action plan of implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation with the Government of the Arkhangelsk region on development of Solovetsky archipelago; within the scope of the XVII St.Petersburg International Economic Forum (June 20, 2013) the Agreement with the Government of Leningrad region about cooperation and the Protocol on its implementation have been signed.
In 2013 the Government of the Republic of Karelia continued work on further development of exhibition and trade fair activities for the benefit of the image of the republic and its enterprises.
In 38 actions provided by the list of exhibition and trade fair activities of the Republic of Karelia, participated more than 1000 representatives from the republic. Positive marketing and image results have been received: it has been signed about 200 contracts on delivery of goods and services; more than 400 meetings with potential investors and partners have been held; it has been reached about 170 preliminary arrangements on delivery of goods and services; more than 550 meetings concerning purchase of new equipment and technologies have taken place.
One million roubles from the budget of the Republic of Karelia was assigned on financial support of participation of organisations of the republic in the International exhibition High Technology of XXI (Moscow); 19th International building forum Interstroyekspo-2013 (St.-Petersburg); Days of the Republic of Karelia in the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation; exhibition within the scope of the VIII Festival of folk artists and craftsmen of Russia Zhar-ptitsa-2013 (Moscow); exhibition within the scope of the Mass Media Forum of the Northwest Northwest Media Atlas (Moscow); the XVth annual All-Russia exhibition-fair of national arts and crafts of Russia Ladya-2013. Winter Fairy Tale (Moscow). 44 organisations have taken part in the abovelisted activities.
For the purpose of strengthening the positive image of the Republic of Karelia at the international level and its positioning as the territory favourable for investment and business, there have been held Karelia in Business Focus presentation of economic and investment prospects of the Republic of Karelia in Lahti (Finland), business mission to Tampere (Finland), presentation of the republic in the Embassy of Chinese National Republic in the Russian Federation. The specified events have caused interest of representatives of business circles.
In 2013 in the sphere of development of international cooperation work was conducted within the scope of continuation of implementation of Karelia program of cross-border cooperation between Russia ans European Union for 2007-2013, development of bilateral cooperation of the Republic of Karelia with regions of Finland, development of Barents cooperation, organisation of work on support of compatriots abroad, development of cooperation with Västerbotten County, Sweden, and in other directions.
As a whole in 2013 in territory of the Republic of Karelia implementation of 112 international noncommercial projects with total amount of involved external financing amounting to €12,435 million was performed. Implementation of the Karelia European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument program of cross-border cooperation between Russia ans European Union (Karelia ENPI CBC) continued. Total financing of the European Union has made €23,2 million. €11,6 million of co-financing was provided from budgets of Russia and Finland apiece. In 2013 the procedure of contracting of projects selected within the fourth through sixth thematic phases of the program was completed.
Participation of representatives of the Government of the Republic of Karelia in the activity of the Program Committee and Regional Working Group on preparation of the new Karelia EU-Russia cross-border cooperation program for 2014-2020 was organised.
In the field of bilateral cooperation between the Republic of Karelia and Finland visits of the delegation of Northern Finland led by Terttu Savolainen, Director General of the Regional Government Agency, and delegation of Eastern Finland led by Elli Aaltonen, Director General of Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland, to the Republic of Karelia took place.
Work according to branch memorandums on cooperation with the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of North Savo and the Regional Union of Communes of Northern Österbotten was in progress. The Memorandum on Cooperation between the Ministry of Labour and Employment of the Republic of Karelia and Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of North Karelia regions and Kainuu for 2013 was signed.
Participation in work of the session of the Council of Heads of constituent entities of the Russian Federation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Coordination Council for Cross-Border and Interregional Cooperation in the the Northwestern Federal District at the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District was organized.
Participation in the Summit of Prime Ministers of countries participating in the Barents cooperation in the town of Kirkenes, Norway, in June of 2013 was organized within the scope of the Barents cooperation. During the Summit the Kirkenes Declaration 2.0 of 2013 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Barents Euro-Arctic Cooperation was adopted.
Work on support of compatriots abroad according to the program of Guidelines of Work of the Government of the Republic of Karelia on Support of Compatriots Abroad for 2012-2014 continued. In 2013 the following actions have been implemented: The Epic Forum in which more than 40 choral collectives have taken part; the VII the Karelian Congress in which compatriots from Estonia and Finland took part, various sports events.
On September 20, 2013 Petrozavodsk was a venue for the IX Annual International Conference Cross-border Cooperation: the Russian Federation, the European Union and Norway which participants discussed prospects of programs of cooperation between the Russian Federation and European Union after 2013, results of the concluding program period, and cooperation in the Baltic region.
On November 1, 2013 the town of Sortavala was a venue for the exit session of the Council of the Federation Committee on the Federal Structure, Regional Policies, Local Self-Governance and Affairs of the North on the subject of cross-border cooperation as one of the way for self-governance development. During the session recommendations to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and federal executive authorities concerning solution of problems of cross-border cooperation have been elaborated.
Cooperation with Västerbotten County, Sweden, within the scope of implementation of the Protocol of Cooperation for 2007—2013 and the Memorandum of Partnership between the Government of the Republic of Karelia and Västerbotten County Administrative Board concerning creation and development of eco-efficient communities continued.
Within the scope of protocol activities reception of 36 foreign delegations was organised, including Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus in the Russian Federation Igor Petrishenko, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania Vigilijus Jukna, Consuls General of Czech Republic, Sweden, Italy and Hungary.