Murmansk hopes for investment hike as it secures status as a free economic zone

Early in 2020 the city will receive a special free trade designation.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - December 23, 2019
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A sing welcomes visitors to Murmansk. (Atle Staalesen / The Independent Barents Observer)

Murmansk’s governor says the city has secured tax benefits that are necessary for it to become the “Capital of the Arctic.”

Regional Governor Andrey Chibis took federal Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev on a helicopter ride ahead of last week’s session in the Arctic Commission. The two men flew over the major construction site developed by Novatek as part of its Kola Yard project, as well as other key development objects along the Kola Bay, the regional government informs.

Chibis hosted the Arctic Commission session that included several federal ministers and top officials, regional governors and state company leaders. The development of natural resources in the Arctic was on top of the meeting agenda and Murmansk argued that it must play a key role in the process.

According Chibis, Murmansk got what it wanted in the meeting.

In early 2020, the region will get status as so-called advanced development region, and the local seaport will officially become a free trade port.

Several seaports in the Russian Far East have already received similar free trade status.

The regional government has named its initiative the “Capital of the Arctic,” and has high hopes for attracting new investments. Chibis says the liberalized trade and investment conditions creates the basis needed for the region to create “a new quality level of life for people in the Arctic.”

“The decisions to grant Murmansk status as advanced development region and the introduction of a free port regime allow us to lower costs for investors, which is crucial for the development of the economy of the region and the Arctic as such,” he says.