PM Medvedev to personally head future govt commission on import replacement

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. © Dmitry Astakhov
Russia will soon have a dedicated commission overseeing import replacement in civilian and defense sectors, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told the government Tuesday, adding that he intended to personally chair the new body.

Import replacement is currently one of the key directions of the government’s work. Decisions have been made and the work must be made more of a system character, this is why we must create a separate government commission for import replacement,” Medvedev told the cabinet.

The draft decree detailing the powers and responsibilities of the new body was presented to officials on the same government session. The PM said that the commission would be comprised of two sub-commissions – one for civilian industry and one for the defense sector.

I will personally head the whole commission,” Medvedev said.

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He specified that the main task of the newly-created body was to coordinate the work of the federal agencies representing executive power, regional authorities, state corporations and companies with major stakes held by the state. The main objective of the joint work is “to create conditions for domestic production of goods that we have earlier received as imports,” the head of the Russian government said.

At the same time, Medvedev told the ministers that the country was interested not in simple mechanical replacement of imports, but in creation of an economy that would produce competitive goods for international markets.

The PM allowed for the impending expansion of Russian counter-sanctions. The new broader list could include seven countries that recently joined the anti-Russian sanctions introduced by the US, EU and their allies last year.

Russia intensified the work on import replacement in its economy over a year ago after the government coup in Kiev jeopardized the military-industrial ties between Ukraine and Russia that dated back to the times of the Soviet Union. In early July this year, Russia’s deputy PM in charge of the defense industry, Dmitry Rogozin, reported first progress in this direction, promising the State Duma that by 2018 Russian defense industry will completely overcome the dependence on Ukrainian-made components as well as from a large number of producers from EU and NATO countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. © Sergey Mamontov

Rogozin specified that by 2018 the defense industry planned to fully replace with Russian products 571 types of foreign-made components. First this will concern the components made in Ukraine and on the second stage of the program Russia would start replacing hardware made in EU and NATO countries. He said that the government planned to run in 100 new defense industry enterprises before the end of the year.

The deputy PM admitted in his speech that there was certain negative effect from the Western sanctions, especially in the space industry and the development of the Russian global positioning system GLONASS. However, Russian own enterprises are already working on this problem, he noted.

Rogozin also told the State Duma that despite all current problems Russia had US$49 billion of export orders on defense products, retaining one of the leading places in the global arms trade. He reported that in 2014 Russian arms makers exported their goods to 32 countries. In 2013 the revenues from such contracts amounted to $15.74 billion and it remained on the same level in 2014.

READ MORE: Russian arms chief pledges to completely replace Ukrainian components by 2018