Eastern Economic Forum To Focus On Developing Bilateral And Multilateral Cooperation – OpEd


In his video address to guests and participants at the 2023 BRICS Business Forum in Johannesburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited representatives of BRICS business circles to the forthcoming events of the 8th Eastern Economic Forum.

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) will take place on 10-13 September in the city of Vladivostok, the Far East region of the Russian Federation. By tradition, most of the discussions focus on trade, business and investment issues that are of useful interest to Russia and the world. But with the current geopolitical situation, Russia has largely turned to Eurasia, Asian and Pacific regions.

Ten years ago,Vladimir Putin made the development of the Far East a national priority for the entire 21st century. The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) has become one of the most important and effective tools for the development of this macro-region in the Russian Federation. 

Decisions of great importance not only for the Far East but also for the entire Asia-Pacific are made at the forum, and multi-million-dollar investment contracts are signed. With Russia’s pivot to the East, the role of the EEF has increased. The Far East is one of the key regions. 

It ‘stitches together’ the world to the extent that it still remains in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and cooperation. “As far as the programme is concerned, we have adapted traditional tracks to the current international situation, modern challenges and the role that the Far East plays for the country,” said Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District.

With the new political and economic model developing around the world, and Russia’s economy facing stringent Western and European sanctions, Yury Trutnev however maintains in a statement ahead of the forum that Russia is also developing new tools and new formats for interaction.

The main theme for 2023 forum is ‘The Path to Partnership, Peace, and Prosperity’ and its business programme designed around six tracks: ‘International cooperation in a changed world’, ‘The logistics of change’, ‘The Far East over the past decade: what has been a success and what remains to be done?’, ‘Technological development as a guarantee of sovereignty’, ‘The Far East of the future’, and ‘Education and upbringing as the foundation of independence’.

“The forum traditionally offers strategic solutions for the comprehensive development of the Far East. The joint participation of government and business representatives, the expert community and leading economists makes it possible to find new approaches to addressing current challenges,” according to Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation and Executive Secretary of the EEF 2023 Organizing Committee.

This year, the organizers are paying special attention to the development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation at various levels. Business dialogues are fixed on the agenda. Russia is traditionally open to cooperation with all interested countries of Asia-Pacific and is ready to offer mutually beneficial forms of cooperation, taking into account the national interests of all partners without exception, according official reports.

The first track – ‘International cooperation in a changed world’ – will discuss the place of the Russian Far East in the economy of Greater Eurasia, the prospects of the SCO and BRICS, issues of international commercial arbitration, the establishment of scientific diplomacy in Asia, and the prospects of Chinese business in Russia.

‘The logistics of change’ track will include discussions on new logistics solutions in the Far East, as well as on the sustainable development of the Northern Sea Route as a new global transport artery. The sessions will discuss such topics as cross-border cooperation, maritime and railway logistics, digital solutions for domestic and international logistics, and the development of a single Far Eastern airline.

Participants in the sessions of the thematic track ‘The Far East over the past decade: what has been a success and what remains to be done?’ will sum up the current results and talk about the prospects for the development of the Far Eastern Federal District. 

The evolution of preferential regimes in the region, including the advanced development territories, the Free Port of Vladivostok, and measures within the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, will be discussed. 

The discussions will also attempt to identify new vectors for the development of preferential regimes. In addition, sectoral sessions will be held in such areas as oil and gas processing, forestry, agriculture and the automotive industry.

The track ‘Technological development as a guarantee of sovereignty’ will address the issues of state security in the sphere of information technologies, and the expansion of drone use in various spheres of the economy. Experts will touch upon aspects of developing new models of interaction between big business, investors, and technology companies. The discussions will present individual success stories of promotion and scaling of Russian creative products on the international market.

The sessions of ‘The Far East of the future’ track will discuss the implementation of a project to create a new look for the largest cities in the Far East, under which more than 20 master plans have been developed. Other topics include providing citizens with high-quality and affordable housing, creating conditions for the development of rental housing, territorial planning in the healthcare system, and preserving the traditional way of life of the indigenous minorities of the North.

Participants in the ‘Education and upbringing as the foundation of independence’ track will consider the modernization of the educational process and the future of the regions educational institutions, the implementation of the ‘Priority 2030. Far East’ academic leadership programme, as well as people-saving as the basis for Russia’s socio-cultural development.

The forum programme also includes exclusive business dialogues with foreign partners from India, China, Laos, Mongolia and ASEAN.

On the opening day of EEF, the first Falcon Day International Forum will be held, designed to become an expert platform for comprehensive dialogue and attracting the attention of government officials, experts and the scientific community to the issues of conservation, protection and increase in the population of birds of prey and their rare species.

According to the organizers, the forum has the EEF Youth Programme, Creative Business Forum, regional presentations at the ‘Far East Street’ exhibition, and the 12th APEC International Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education. In addition, rich cultural and sports programmes are planned.

The Eastern Economic Forum was established by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on 19 May 2015 in order to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East and to expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. In accordance with the Decree, the Eastern Economic Forum takes place each year in Vladivostok, Russia’s Far East.

Kester Kenn Klomegah

Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and a policy consultant on African affairs in the Russian Federation and Eurasian Union. He has won media awards for highlighting economic diplomacy in the region with Africa. Currently, Klomegah is a Special Representative for Africa on the Board of the Russian Trade and Economic Development Council. He enjoys travelling and visiting historical places in Eastern and Central Europe. Klomegah is a frequent and passionate contributor to Eurasia Review.

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