President Vladimir Putin has recently signed legislation designating Russia’s eastern city Vladivostok as a free port, a move intended to revive the country’s eastern economy. In addition to providing local tax relief, the law provides significant tax advantages designed to attract foreign investors from China, Japan, and South Korea. This move opens the doors for eastern Russia to compete with Busan and Macau as a gambling destination.

The legal framework of the law unites ports in 15 cities near Vladivostok, home to about seventy-five percent of the regions residents. For the locals, in addition to tax relief and the establishment of a customs-free zone, residents of the free port district will receive additional benefits including simplified visa access and border crossing procedures.

The newly established free port includes four distinct economic zones: Transportation (the shipping port and airport), industry, science, and tourism. In September, Vladivostok will host the first ever Eastern Economic Forum, and will include a detailed presentation of proposals for potential foreign investors. Putin’s eastern representative Yury Trutnev assures that the administration and procedures have been streamlined into one federal agency – referred to as the “one-stop principal.”

Putin was quoted as saying, “A new investment space is taking shape,”and Russian officials believe that the timing is right. Economic growth has been on the rise, the trend towards residents leaving the area have been significantly reduced, and people’s lives have been improving. Plus, allowing for the locals to obtain state lands and tax relief on the property will also help to stimulate additional economic growth.

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