''We met Prime Minister of Dagestan Artyom Zdunov — we were very glad to see him''
The investment forum Sochi 2018: the delegation of Tatarstan had a fruitful meeting with Artyom Zdunov and brought to the republic Metro Cash & Carry's plans for market expansion
From the investment forum in Sochi, Tatarstan has brought ''eco-friendly'' projects of Metro Cash and Carry, hope for solution of the ''milk'' issue and a couple of dozen agreements on cooperation with regions and business. They told about the trip of almost the largest delegation to Krasnodar Krai at a briefing in the Cabinet of Ministers, pre-announcing the forthcoming forum 'Russia-Islamic World' in Kazan. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
The ''milk'' problem has been heard
On 20th February, Talia Minullina, the head of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency, and Natalia Tarkaeva, the deputy minister of economy of Tatarstan, told at the Cabinet of Ministers' meeting about how Tatarstan was praised at the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi and what new projects they have managed to attract to the republic.
Tatarstan was represented at the forum by an impressive delegation of more than 70 people. Most part of them are representatives of business community who went to Sochi at their own expense but received support to promote their projects. According to Talia Minullina, the delegation larger than Tatarstan's was only of the hosting region — Krasnodar Krai.
Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov participated only in a few forum sessions, but they expected from him not this first of all – having promised the Tatarstan agriculture producers to report to Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev on the problem with low purchase prices for milk due to a surplus of milk powder, the head of the republic addressed to the government with this issue.
''Our request has been heard, and now we expect that they will conduct some activities to develop such measures at the federal level,'' the head of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency cautiously commented on these actions, noting that they were ready not only to bring the problem to discussion, but also to offer their solutions.
''Eco-friendly'' Metro Cash and Carry
The meeting of Rustam Minnikhanov with representatives of the retailer Metro Cash and Carry, who are planning to continue the expansion on the Tatarstan market, yielded results. Natalia Tarkaeva said that until 2020 the network plans to open another 150 stores within walking distance Fasol on the base of franchising in the region.
''It is small shops in residential areas, close to residential places. With fresh products, within walking distance. Besides, this project is considered environmentally friendly because it reduces traffic flows — people will not go to buy products in remote places, to large shops,'' Talia Minullina added in response to the question of Realnoe Vremya.
In addition, according to the deputy minister of economy of Tatarstan, the company acquired a land plot of 3,3 hectares on Patrice Lumumba Street for implementation of the first in Russia pilot project on small retail trade of urban format. The design and survey works are being underway there. The third project concerns restaurant business — Metro Cash and Carry is planning to launch 'Restaurant response' for training and retraining of specialists.
The volume of investments in these projects has not been announced yet. Natalia Tarkaeva explained to Realnoe Vremya that they reached an agreement at the forum in Sochi and a memorandum of cooperation will be signed on March 23d at the specialized exhibition in Moscow.
With Zdunov and new partners
More than 80 meetings were held with representatives of Russian regions and other states. For example, with the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa, Vnesheconombank, with the Altai Investment and Development Centre, the chairman of the State Committee of Bashkortostan for foreign economic relations, with the administration of the single-industry city of Yurga in Kemerovo Oblast, with the subsidiary of Gazprombank — GPB International Bank, with the Development Corporation in Ulyanovsk Oblast, with the permanent representative of Crimea under the President of Russia, with the director for development of e-commerce products Qiwi – the list can go on and on.
Cooperation agreements were also signed with the Industrial Development Centre of Leningrad Oblast, with the regional centre for business support of Vologda Oblast, with the Development Corporation of the middle Urals, the Agency for attracting and protecting investments of Kemerovo Oblast, with the Technopolis 'Moscow' and others. Among them there is also Dagestan, with the Entrepreneurship and Investments Agency they also signed an agreement.
''It is obvious that we met Prime Minister of Dagestan — we were very glad to meet him, we wish him success,'' Talia Minullina told journalists about a meeting with just recently holding the post of the minister of economy of Tatarstan Artyom Zdunov.
Not so smoothly
One of the topics discussed during the forum was the reasons for losing the investors. What is interesting, the issue was put on the agenda by Tatarstan. The leader of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency noted that everyone can face with withdrawal of investors, and it can be influenced by both political factors (as in the case with the period of tensions with Turkey) and economic and individual ones (when the two sides cannot agree). Here, the speaker recalled the withdrawal of significant partner such as Schneider Electric from the region in due time.
According to her, the abandonment happened due to the fact that ''the communication broke at some point.'' Schneider Electric was a resident of a private park in Laishevsky district, which in 2013 raised the rent. However, the foreign investor was not ready for this and chose to change the location into Yekaterinburg. The Investment Development Agency found out about their intention after the fact of moving.
''And that is why I say that it is my fault and of my employees because we have to be constantly in touch with investors and when they have troubles, they should, as it seems to us, inform us in time so that we took the corresponding measures. But when the representative of Schneider Electric came to me, he presented us with a fait accompli that they had taken out the equipment,'' Talia Minullina said, noting that ''this is a very bad story for Tatarstan.''
Сooperation building did not return the plant to Tatarstan, but brought in Innopolis the first Russian research centre of Schneider Electric.
Сontinuing on the investment topic, the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya clarified whether there was news on another project in the region, which was to be implemented by the Azerbaijani group of companies Benkons Group. The investor bought the land plot in Laishevo rayon near the airport. The capsule of construction of the plant for juice production and of the logistics center was solemnly laid by the president of Tatarstan in 2015.
The republic in this project helped to lay engineering networks. However, it did not affect the outcome. According to Talia Minullina, the land is still owned by the Azerbaijani investor and it regularly pays taxes for it.
''When we were laying engineering networks, Azerbaijan experienced a change in the economic situation, a crisis, and the investor no longer had the financial opportunity to further implement this project. We maintain contacts especially as the land plot still belongs to them, and we hope for restoration of these relations,'' the speaker commented.
Not by Sochi alone
Active preparations for the event, which is traditionally held in Tatarstan, — it is the forum 'Russia — Islamic World' held on 10-12 May, are underway. The speakers such as Secretary General of the General Council for Islamic Banks And Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), Director General of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre and others have already confirmed their participation in KazanSummit. Thirteen ambassadors of foreign states have also confirmed their participation.
During Vladimir Putin's visit to Kazan on January 25th, he was also asked to give the forum the federal status so that the invitation to the event could be sent on behalf of the Russian Federation. ''The proposal has been supported, and now the head of the organizing committee at the federal level is being selected. I think it will also help us to gather more interesting guests,'' Talia Minullina said.
In Tatarstan, there has been established a working group on Islamic finance, and a few test transactions have already been made that will be announced at KazanSummit.
It is also planned to involve associates from other regions in the work, but it is prematurely to talk about it as the parties have little experience in implementation of transactions with Islamic finance, believes the speaker.