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Russia enters into a heavy struggle for non-primary markets

The import substitution allowed the Russian economy to survive in a critical period, but now this is a passed stage. And the authorities, it seems, have already decided on what will be the next - the growth of non-primary exports. Successes are already now. But will the country be able to repeat the brilliant path that the "Asian tigers" - Japan, Korea and China - passed? What exactly will we export and, most importantly, where?

Given the presidential mandate to achieve the growth rate of the Russian economy is higher than the world average, the topic of increasing non-primary exports is becoming more urgent. It emphasizes both officials and independent experts, giving reasoned calculations. However, so far many questions remain unanswered, first of all - what goods should be bet on and on what foreign markets they are expected. In addition, it is vain to understand that in the future this strategy may require radical changes in Russian economic policy, the realism of which is not yet apparent.

Golden Mountains

The main prerequisites for the activation of non-primary exports from the Russian Federation became the devaluation of the ruble with a simultaneous fall in prices for hydrocarbons. This has made many Russian goods of high conversion competitive abroad, and a number of the country's leading companies have announced plans to dramatically increase external supplies.

A typical example is Avtovaz, whose new president, Frenchman Nicolas Mohr, declared export as a strategic priority right after his appointment in 2016, and more recently explained that by the end of this year his company intends to export 25 thousand cars (slightly less , Than 10% of the planned sales volume in Russia), including several hundred "pilot" copies on the Chinese market, which almost all Russian enterprises dream of.

However, this particular. The fact that non-primary exports from Russia has imperceptibly turned from the subject of abstract discussion into a full-fledged strategy is clear from a number of recent statements widely disseminated by news agencies. Perhaps the most unexpected of them was the speech of the head of the department of monetary policy of the Bank of Russia Igor Dmitriev, who described the two main factors of the moderate decline of the Russian economy during the recent crisis - the floating exchange rate of the national currency and the support of non-primary exports.

A few days later, the head of the Russian Export Center (REC), Petr Fradkov, said that in the first quarter of this year, non-primary exports from Russia in monetary terms increased by 19%, and in physical volume - by 4,7% (compared to the first quarter of 2016) . At the same time, the project implemented by the REC to support non-primary exports under the Made in Russia brand sets the task of achieving an annual growth of this indicator at the level of 7%.

Finally, on the eve of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, it became known that the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), headed by ex-Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, called non-primary exports the most important driver, which would allow Russia's GDP to grow by 3,5-4% in the medium term. According to the calculations of the "Kudrintsev", this is possible with a doubling of the indicators to 2024 year (from the current 109 billion to 200 billion dollars). This means that the dynamics of growth should be even higher than the one Fradkov called - about 9% per year.

Smooth was on paper

From the comments of independent experts interviewed by the newspaper VZGLYAD, it follows that at the level of abstract modeling the figures given are quite reasonable. So, according to the calculations of the managing partner of FOC (Financial and Organizational Consulting) company Moses Furschik, of 4% of hypothetical GDP growth in Russia in 2024 ("Kudrin's scenarios"), non-raw non-energy exports will provide 1,5%, and the remaining 2,5% will be achieved through other factors. "The" natural "growth of the Russian economy in the current scale lies within 2,2-3%," confirms Professor NIV HSE Dmitry Evstafiev. We can recall how, in the framework of the same SPIEF, the head of the Ministry of Economic Development, Maxim Oreshkin, said that the measures being developed by the government to accelerate economic growth presuppose an output for GDP growth over 3% since 2020. In other words, non-primary exports can be seen as an attempt to spur the economy to grow above the bar (about 2%), after which the phrase "GDP growth" becomes more or less palpable for most companies, and in the long term for the population.

"In general, this proportion between the elements of growth seems reasonable. In principle, the scenario in which non-raw non-energy exports of Russia will be about 2024% of GDP or about 15 billion dollars in 200 is not transcendental. For example, the export of South Korea's economy is about 39% of GDP and almost entirely non-raw. The question is, what products can achieve significant growth, "Furshchik emphasizes.

To answer this question, one can turn to the largest potential market for Russian goods today-the Chinese one, especially since the moment to enter it is now favorable: economic growth in the PRC has slowed and changes its quality-with growth due to exports or investments The country passes to growth at the expense of consumption.

Another thing, states the chairman of the board of directors of the CREON Energy group, Phares Kilzie, that so far China can not find anything in Russia except raw materials. "The PRC is now going through a very difficult situation in the economy, and Russia does not offer him anything that can improve his economic performance and, at the same time, create the necessary points for growth for the Russian economy. Those non-raw goods that we can offer to China, there and so in abundance. For example, in engineering China is still a little behind us, but in five or ten years the situation will change. Yes, we have joint "non-raw" initiatives, for example, in the aircraft industry, through the Rusnano, Yandex, etc., but, by and large, all projects outside oil and gas remain at the level of an endless dialogue, rather than real beginnings. The specifics are only in the oil and gas sector, where 70 billion are already invested in projects. "

The same moment, although without binding to the Chinese market, is also accentuated by Moses Furshchik. In his opinion, effective practices for stimulating non-primary exports (primarily through REC) have been created in Russia, but in the medium term, the availability of a sufficient number of export products will become a problem. From the leading articles of Russian non-primary non-energy exports, exports are noted, the prospects of chemistry, metal products and weapons are most understandable, but if in the chemistry (in particular, in the segment of mineral fertilizers) the opportunities for further growth in exports are quite obvious, then on the other two positions a significant increase is unlikely - first of all, because of restrictions on demand.

As for the export of Russian agricultural products, which has been actively expanded in recent years, growth is possible rather not at the expense of agriculture proper, but thanks to the food industry (for example, confectionery). However, such opportunities are associated with increased investment, that is, depend on the overall state of the Russian economy. At the same time, in engineering and related industries, the most important are modern technologies and equipment, as well as human resources.

"Joint production with world-class companies could play a big role, and even the simple localization of Western industries has export potential, since such enterprises are usually oriented not only to the domestic market, but also to sales in neighboring countries. In addition, a large export perspective has the embedding of Russian industries in international value chains, but in recent years it has almost ceased. The implementation of such opportunities is highly dependent on political factors, "Furshchik notes.

The dried hand of the market

Realization of the task of growth of non-primary exports requires an analysis of the experience of those countries that have already passed along this path and achieved serious success on it. It should be recorded as an indisputable fact that Russia is a country of catching-up development, and this trajectory, historian Alexander Polygalov recalls, historically was based on two components - on import substitution of products with high added value (including the production of components for such products) and / or for Expansion of exports of products with high added value.

But today's Russia, argues Poligalov, is not Japan 50, South Korea 70 or China 90-ies, which also used the export-oriented strategy of catch-up development, but for various reasons. For example, they lacked an effective solvent demand for high-tech products produced by them, and they occupied those niches that producers in developed countries gave to them in the context of optimizing production costs. There was an advantage in the form of low labor costs. In addition, in those days, the conviction prevailed that the transfer of production to countries with cheap labor - this is beneficial primarily to the developed countries themselves.

"Today, all these factors are not working for Russia," Polygalov said. - First of all, let Russia not be the richest country, but it has more resources of its own effective demand than Japan, South Korea and China have since their export expansion. Secondly, no one has yet any technological niches for us, let alone the markets for finished products will not be given. Thirdly, we no longer have any advantage in the cost of labor resources - in many respects this is a consequence of the fact that we, again, are not the richest, but certainly not the poorest country. Fourthly, now a slightly different wind is blowing - the wind of re-industrialization, and not the wind of globalization, which at one time inflated the sails of non-primary exports from Southeast Asia. "

Therefore, the expert believes, a much closer analogue of today's Russia is Germany or Japan at the end of the XIX century - the era of the struggle for global hegemony, lost by the former "workshop of the world" - the United Kingdom. However, their growth (and impressive pace) did not occur at the expense of exports, but due to import substitution. Moreover, countries that relied on non-primary exports in the second half of the last century did so through the policy of powerful state dirigism or, in the case of China, with the help of the state economy.

"Given that proposals for increasing non-oil exports by Russia are put forward by people for whom expressions such as" state regulation of foreign economic relations "are almost heretical, it would be interesting to see how they plan to achieve the growth of non-primary exports by more than 10% per year , - Poligalov asks. "Apparently, the invisible hand of the market should help an unknown way, and if it does not help, then after all, there are many things that can happen in seven years. "Doubling of non-primary exports up to 2024 year" is a typical reception of our bureaucrats from the economy. They call dates not too far to preserve the attractiveness of their statements, but not too close, so that everyone could forget what they said there. The question is: what, and most importantly, where will we deliver in order to achieve such results? "

Dmitry Evstafiev also shares a similar point of view: "When people talk about non-primary exports, they forget to specify what we will export and where. At the same time, the same Kudrin offers a soft version of surrender in foreign policy, which finally eliminates our opportunities for non-primary exports, at the emphasis of not seeing the correlation between non-oil exports and the operation in Syria. Although we still have significant untapped potential for non-primary import substitution within the country, without which export development is impossible, because it is impossible to export what has not been tested in Russia. "

There is another important difference from the same China, which with many reservations, but continues to hold the status of the current "workshop of peace." "In Russia there are a number of large companies that are able to increase non-oil exports - the same" AvtoVAZ "or" Rostselmash. " We can supply the same cars and inexpensive high-quality food products to foreign markets, "says economist Mair Pashayev. - But there are thousands of such companies in Russia and there must be thousands of them - transnational companies that are globally competitive, and by production capacities, and by technology, and by marketing. In many respects this is limited by the corruption factor, because of which small Russian enterprises often simply can not get out of the shadows. "

Two approaches to the projectile

Assessing non-raw exports as a potentially possible trajectory of the development of the Russian economy, the experts interviewed by the newspaper LOOKING UP identify two main options for action, between which there is an obvious contradiction.

So, according to Fares Kilzie, to the question that Russia will export, we should not answer at all - we just need to create conditions for the same Chinese people to organize the production of the products that they need. "Why do we have to offer something or impose on the Chinese? "Let them decide for themselves whether we should supply them or jointly process them," he says. "Under this scheme, we are already working with Europeans: you want to produce Volkswagens in the Kaluga region - come, localize production and release, not only for the Russian market, but, if desired, for export."

This logic is fully justified, given that the devaluation of the ruble has contributed significantly to the localization of production in Russia by many European companies (another thing is that, more often than not, these are not very high-profile projects that do not resonate outside their industries). A private but characteristic example: as early as in the 2015 year, that is, at the height of the "sanction war" with the European Union, the Moscow region plant of the Slovenian pharmaceutical holding Krka soon after launching the new stage first put its products on the EU market (to Portugal) for the first time in its history. There is no doubt that many other foreign investors, including the Chinese, also have similar expectations, the last wave of investment in the Russian Federation is connected with the increase in exports.

"Today, we must quickly take advantage of the fact that China has already fully realized the unrewarding of its investments in such countries as Pakistan, Myanmar, Venezuela, Ecuador - and the volume of investment in the New Silk Road projects is sharply reduced," says Fares Kilzie. - This circumstance must be used: those projects that can be offered to the Chinese in Russia are 10 times better than investments in the "third world" countries. But it is also necessary to create conditions for consolidation in the first ten countries, where China invests. Xi Jinping is coming to Moscow in July, and it is very important to offer the Chinese people the real conditions and responsible people for joint projects by this time. "

But we need to understand: if the Germans believe in the system, then the Chinese believe only specific people. The success of projects in the oil and gas sector is largely due to the fact that they are backed by the guarantee of President Vladimir Putin. "Therefore, we need long-term guarantees of Chinese investment not only at the state level, but also on a personal level, and on our part we need not one person of Putin, but many such people," Kilzie sums up. - Unfortunately, they do not see any other curator in Russia, and until such figures appear, the same endless dialogue will continue. But if we want to organize non-primary exports to China, then for this direction there must be personally responsible persons. A strong and independent gubernatorial corps should play a key role in this case, since such projects will have to be localized in the regions. "

But there is also a different picture of the prospects for non-primary exports, implying that the answer to the main question ("what to export?") Will be given by us, and clearly going beyond obvious trends. In the opinion of Vladimir Guryanov, the head of the Coordination Council of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs for the NCFD, the idea of ​​increasing non-primary exports is directly related to the three options for the future for the Russian economy: either its inertial raw material specialization leading to "Latin American" reality, or "pupating" into a quasi-independent "world-economy" by the type of the USSR, or the transition from balancing between the semi-periphery and the periphery of the global economy in the "club" of the central economies of the world. "It is precisely around the choice of the vector of the country's further movement that the political struggle and the corresponding struggle of economic groups of influence are underway," Guryanov said.

At the same time, he recalls that according to the current classification of the REC, there is a lot in the concept of "non-primary exports" that, on closer examination, it does not bring us closer to the third, desirable scenario: "Now, agricultural products provide a significant growth in non-primary exports. This is encouraging, especially for the country, which is still extremely dependent on food exports for 25 years ago, but it is clearly not enough to become a noticeable step on the pedestal of the world economy. To be proud of the fact that the country provides itself with food and can export surplus is normal, but to agree with the positioning of Russia as a supplier of agricultural products for export means that it will seriously underestimate the bar of strategic development goals. Goals should be put on the growth of high-tech exports. Otherwise, this is not a breakthrough, but simply a diversification of export revenues from oil and gas to other types of products with a low degree of processing. "

Therefore, believes Guryanov, the marker of the correct way of economic development is designated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation - growth of exports and reduction of imports in the segment of high-tech goods, where it is possible to balance the above contradictions between the tasks of non-primary exports and import substitution (the domestic market often can not provide the necessary volume of demand for high-tech products) . However, the representative of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs stresses, it is important not only to increase investment in the production of high-tech goods, without which their exports are impossible - the public's attitude to this is even more important.

"When German Gref called Russia a" downshifting country, "he put an absolutely accurate diagnosis of the moods that prevail in our society," Guryanov admits. - There is fatigue from the twentieth century, great and tragic events for our country. Both the masses and the elite as a whole do not want and do not show the ability to mobilize - although without it a scenario of growth is impossible. It is necessary that the entrepreneurial enthusiasm and initiative, connected not with the access to financial resources and their successful development, but with the creation of fundamentally new products, become the dominant mood in public life. This part of the economy exists even now. Alas, it is not dominant. But it should be just this. "

A source: LOOK

Author: Michael tumbling

Tags: Russia, Economy, Research