The Strategy comprises a statistical description of the status of the innovation sphere, albeit it presents bare bones without any interpretation. As well, it rests exclusively upon the official statistical data, which appears absolutely wrong, as far as a number of spheres are concerned, for not only does it fail to portray the reality, but miscolors it. A typical and already broadly known example in this regard is the level of the corporate innovation activity. All qualitative and quantitative surveys held in the past five years have been registering it at a level far greater than Rosstat’s data suggested. Accordingly, the problem does not lie with a low investment activity, but in its substance and magnitude. Meanwhile the Strategy asserts that, “The structure of statistical indicators in many ways reflects objectives facingthe public administration of the industrial age and appears not quite adequate to today’s challenges. A real concept of the status and trends of progress in the innovation sphere today can be drawn largely from results of surveys and polls, which are not conducted systematically atpublic organizations and private corporations’ instigation”. The strategy, however, failed to take stock of the survey results. Plus, as many of the latter are commissioned by federal ministries (the RF Ministry of Science and Education, the RF Ministry of Economic Development), one falls under impression the customers do not care to familiarize themselves with their outputs, so much for existence of any information exchange between the agencies concerned. Ultimately, the new Strategy is built upon the understanding of what the government has already launched, but it was not adjusted with account of good practices and causes for failures.
The document comprises three innovation strategy options, each complemented with analysis of its prospects, benefits, challenges, and risks. They are followed by the assertation that the optimal strategy option is a “combined” one. It was taken as a basis for the present Strategy, though the RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES document contains no parameters of the “combined” option. Meanwhile, the “combined strategy option” does not imply a mechanical integration of benefits and risks of thus combined scenarios.
Accordingly, there is no detailed description of the selected innovation strategy option.
Sections in the document appear very unevenly developed: the most eclectic ones is the section defining what an innovation state should look like and the section on innovation infrastructure (the latter comprises the least data on effectiveness of numerous technological infrastructure objects established with the government’s participation). The section named “Efficient science” looks fairly logical, and its content is linked to main stages of the Strategy implementation, which is what all other sections lack. Throughout the document there are references, though with various degrees of specification, to practically all known instruments of encouragement of innovation activities – from public procurement and technological platforms to technical regulation to tax measures. The Strategy emphasizes the problem of selection of development priorities which should become the focal point for the government, research and business communities’ joint efforts. Surprisingly, among critical directions of creation of technological platforms this section of the document embraces concepts of different order: from industry branches (airspace technologies, information technologies, nuclear energy) to specific technologies that form technology subgroups or a part of a certain direction (composition materials and even “production of LEDs”). Perhaps, the content of the Strategy was notimmune to the lobbyists’ pressure, and they partially succeeded in promoting certain topics and businesses.
The Strategy identifies a number of priorities in the area of development of science.
The first priority whose implementation is already underway is a set of measures on beefing up research in universities. Meanwhile, the issue of integration of universities with other organizationswas voiced, albeit it was not accentuated, nor was it further specified. The text of the Strategy implicitly suggests that over time universities are to replace the Russian Academy of Sciences and grow into main centers of fundamental science in the country. More specifically, the authors argue that research universities, “Should emerge as a nucleus of a new integrated research–and–educational complex which provides for …implementation of a sizeable share of fundamental and applied research”.
The second priority concerns the sphere of applied research and implies creation of national research centers that should borrow the pattern designed for the National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”. Provisions that emphasize the need for creation of centers of excellence (their tentative number was earlier set at the level of 5–7 centers) appeared in a whole series of previous conceptual and strategic documents, but NRC “Kurchatov Institute”has so far beenthe only center. The existing NRC has been consistently building its capacity by obtaining extra budgetary funding and incorporating into itself high–profile research institutions. Meanwhile, its operational efficiency and, accordingly, the need for replicating the model, have triggered a furious row among the research community, whosecomments,as a rule, werenot particularlyfavorable. At the same time, it is hard to understand how the NRC progresses, for there are no objective operational data, but concerns that the NRC model is a mere monopolization of specific directions of research, which is hardly to form an incentive to boost up efficiency.
Notably, the authors of the Strategy seem to realize the perils monopoly bears and are even going to combat it by supporting “as a minimum, several competing research organizations of the global scientific level within the frame of each direction with substantially overlapping areas of research”.
This is the most expensive way to combat monopoly.The USSR used to employ this method in itslavishlyfundedMIC–related research projects.Employing this approach today is more complex a task, and this is the very sphere to try new tender procedures and mechanisms of organization of public procurement, as per the Strategy, as well as attraction of foreign expertise, particularly for the sake of enhancing operational transparency of centers of excellence.
The third priority is cadres policy. The Strategy enumerates quite a number of measures in this regard, including a few absolutely groundbreaking ones, such as introduction of a “federal researcher” status or implementation of a pilot program on attraction specialists with the university executive management record in leading universities overseas to fill in respective positions in the federal and research universities, among others. The respective subsection comprises many INNOVATION RUSSIA – 2020: WHITHER EFFICIENCY right words on the necessity to link salaries to research outputs, get rid of inefficient personnel, introduce age qualification with regard to executive positions, and to create conditions to ensure the rise of young researchers. The “human resources” subsection appears the most developed one vis–à–vis other subsections.
The fourth priority is improvement of financial mechanisms, focus on priority avenues of the scientific and technological development, optimization of grantor organizations’ operations. This direction is not new either – it was postulated many times, with novisible progress so far. In this context, the issue of improvement of public research foundations’ performance is worth a special notice. The Strategy enumerates a whole series of intents to improve research foundations’ operational activities – from traditional mantras about the need to boost their budget funding to importance of attraction of foreign experts to assess projects. However, it is this particular subsection that conveys the suggestion that the Strategy and the real life of the nation’s research complex co–exist in some parallel universes, for what the Strategy outlines fully conflicts with the actual budgeting that suggests cuts in the respective funding by 2013.
So, perhaps, for the first time for a document of this kind, the section “Efficient science” conveys the government’s fairly clear, though not bold, vision on the national scientific complex by 2020. The vision appears disputable and lacking substantiated reasoning. One thing is for certain, though, – that is, there will be science in the country by 2020, butwhether it is going to be efficientstill is a big question.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES THE ROLE OF FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS IN RUSSIA’S CURRENT FOREIGN TRADE POLICY A.Pakhomov, K.Muradov In 20010, Russia drastically bolstered its activities in the area of integration processes. That primarily concerned creation of the Customs Union (including Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan) and the start of shaping on its basis a Single Economic Space, as well as Russia’s initiative on creation a free trade zone in the CIS. In addition to its steps towards intensification of centripetal trends in the post-Soviet zone, the country announced its intent to launch negotiations on concluding free trade agreements (FTAs) with Far-Abroad countries, too.
Russia’s integration in the global economy, which should bolster efficacy of the nation’s contribution to the international labor division and engender greater opportunities for realization of its comparative advantages on external markets, constitutes one of Russia’s major foreign economic policy objectives. The country relates attainment of this objective to its contribution to the multilateral process of regulation of economy and finance, activities in the frame of regional economic unions, and development of various forms of trade relations with individual countries or group of nations.
The decision to try such a bilateral instrument as conclusion of FTAs with Far-Abroad countries allows an assumption of the rise in 2010 of a new trend in the nation’s foreign economic policy, which in the past 10-15 years was regarded as a hypothetical direction,- that is, integration into the global economy. The change of the course seems to be driven by a series of domestic and external reasons.The popularity of FTAs has not plummeted, even despite the global crisis. As of the early 2011, there were at least 205 effective bilateral agreements of this kind, albeit only 5 of them provided for creation of a customs union. Another 17 FTAs were signed, but have not come into effect as yet.
Customs unions are more widespread among regional economic alliances, with no less than 10 out of 18 regional alliances being formally aimed at, as a minimum, this particular form of economic integration.
REGIONAL AND BILATERAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS IN INDIVIDUAL NATIONS’ FOREIGN ECONOMIC TIES The number of Proportion Average-weighted import tariff, signed FTAs Aggregate of exports to as %, Country (group (effective FTAs export, as USD FTA partner of countries) in brackets), mln. 2009 countries *,as Inclusive of all as of January MFT** %, 2009 preferences EU 31(29) 1 588 647 27.4 3.15 2.Switzerland 25(21) 172 474 71.3 3.02 1.Norway 24(20) 117 901 87.4 2.00 1.Iceland 24(20) 4 057 86.7 2.60 1.Chile 20(18) 53 732 87.7 5.70 0.Singapore 20(18) 269 832 66.4 0.04 0.Turkey 16(15) 102 139 60.0 4.20 1.USA 14(11) 1 056 712 40.1 1.92 1.1 For a more detailed analysis of necessary and sufficient conditions of Russian Federation conducting negotiations on conclusion of free trade agreements with foreign states, see A. Pakhomov “Vozmozhnosti uchastiya Rossii v preferentsialnykh torgovykh soglasheniyakh so stranami dalnego zarubezhya”// Ekonomiko-politicheskaya situatsiya v Rossii, January 2009, pp. 67-THE ROLE OF FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS IN RUSSIA’S CURRENT...
Table, cont’d The number of Proportion Average-weighted import tariff, signed FTAs Aggregate of exports to as %, Country (group (effective FTAs export, as USD FTA partner of countries) in brackets), mln. 2009 countries *,as Inclusive of all as of January MFT** %, 2009 preferences Russia 12(12) 301 796 15.6 12.34 11.Japan 11(11) 580 719 16.3 3.11 2.Mexico 11(11) 229 712 93.2 8.84 1.Malaysia 10(9) 157 195 59.6 4.76 4.Costa-Rica 10(8) 8 711 45.2 4.33 2.Israel 9(9) 47 935 69.0 3.01 1.Thailand 9(9) 152 497 52.1 … … China 9(8) 1 201 647 24.0 4.56 4.Canada 9(6) 315 424 77.6 3.72 1.New Zealand 8(8) 24 933 44.7 2.51 1,Peru 8(7) 26 738 54.3 2.68 2.Australia 7(7) 153 767 19.9 5.21 4.Moldova 7(7) 1 288 32.South Korea 7(5) 363 531 14.6 7.05 7.India 6(6) 176 765 20.0 6.65 6.MERCOSUR 5(5) 184 503 8.6 9.74 6.Taiwan 4(4) 203 494 0.2 2.34 2.Croatia 4(4) 10 492 84.9 4.49 1.* including regional FTAs – NAFTA, EACT, etc.
** under the most favored treatment regime (MFT), inclusive of ad-valorum equivalents of non-advalorum duties (the 2008 data are given in italics) Source: calculated and compiled with the use of the UN COMTRADE and World Bank World Trade Indicators 2009/2010 data bases.
Russian leadership came to acknowledge the fact that FTAs can be an efficient vehicle for promoting trade, economic and investment relations, ensuring greater access to partners’ markets, and they spoke in favor of talking stock of best practices in the area1.
Presently, the most fundamental element of Russia’s foreign trade policy is the international treaty framework of the Customs Union (CU) between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, within which the bulk of the customs tariff regulation functions was mandated to a supranational body – namely, the Commission of the Customs Union. In connection with this, devising FTAs in the conditions of application of the CU’s Customs Code and the Uniform Customs Tariff first provides for evaluation of two main groups of problems.
1. Analysis of effects the conclusion of an FTA with a given state (or group of states) might have on the CU economies, including its impact on individual industrial sectors, the agrarian sector, and the one for services. In other words, this is an examination of the CU nations’ competitiveness level vis-à-vis potential counterparts under a planned FTA.
2. Examination of practical effects such an FTA might have on increase in trade and investment between the CU nations and a third country (or their group), primarily from the standpoint of prospective advancement of Russia’s, as well as Belarus and Kazakhstan’s, economies.