New approaches to investment protection
The State Duma is discussing the draft bill “On the Protection and Promotion of Investments and the Development of Investment Activities in the Russian Federation” (hereinafter – FZ SZPK), which is informally named the “Investment Code”.
The draft bill introduces general regulations for various forms of investment activity and abolishes a number of existing legal acts.
FZ SZPK establishes two investment regimes – general and project.
General investment regime
The general regime postpones regulations worsening the conditions for investment activity for three years. These regulations include requirements which:
- introduce new restrictions or prohibitions
- increase the duration of mandatory procedures
- cancel existing benefits
- lead to additional costs for investors
A distinctive feature of the general investment regime is the absence of a minimum investment threshold.
Project investment regime
The project regime assumes that there are minimal requirements for investment and the total project budget, depending on the industry sector.
|Branch of the economy||
Necessary investment of the investor
or organization implementing the project
||250 million RUB||More than 1 billion RUB|
||More than 1.5 billion RUB||More than 7 billion RUB|
|other industries||More than 5 billion RUB||More than 25 billion RUB|
Investors will be able to conclude agreements to protect and promote investment until January 1, 2030 for a period of 6, 15, or 20 years, depending on the volume of investment. During the relevant period, investors will be guaranteed invariable tax and other business conditions, including customs and tariff regulations. In addition, the conditions for technical regulation, licensing, land use, and territory development will be fixed for three years.
The draft bill introduces some exceptions, meaning the stability guarantee will not extend to regulations adopted in pursuance of international agreements or customs regulations.
The rules of FZ SZPK for the project regime will not apply to investment projects in the following areas:
- gambling businesses
- production of tobacco and alcohol products
- production of liquid fuel
- production of crude oil and natural gas
- wholesale and retail trade
- financial and insurance activities
- operations with real estate and securities
Is there a reason for concern?
From the experts’ and business representatives’ point of view, the “Investment Code” needs to be improved, since many provisions are not clearly defined. For example, the relationship of new standards with existing formats for interaction between investors and the state (SPIC, PPP, and others) and the conditions for applying supportive measures provided by the draft bill leave open questions.
The proposed changes also limit the range of potential recipients of state support and the possibility of direct participation of the state in the implementation of projects. The participation of public law entities in public investment projects is provided for by the draft bill only if it is not possible to attract another investor.
According to Vyacheslav Voloshin, Chairman of the State Duma, hearings will be held with experts, government representatives, and the business community to finalize the project before the second reading in the State Duma.