“The main reason I believe President Putin supported the WTO accession is that it will provide Russian high-tech enterprises non-discriminatory access to foreign markets.” — Mr. Bernard Casey, an innovation and modernization specialist for the post-Soviet space said in a Voice of Russia interview.
When most executives consider conducting knowledge-based business in Russia, the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights usually top their list of concerns. IP ownership, infringement issues, and piracy are of vital concern and must be scrupulously and judiciously addressed to avoid expensive and potentially damaging consequences.
Last week, several senior Russian politicians attended a meeting at the Novosibirsk Technology Park Science Campus with a view to improving the efficiency of public administration through information technology, and other related issues. Also present were representatives from a range of science- and technology-based enterprises, including Valentin Makarov, President of RUSSOFT, the country’s leading IT association that promotes the interests of Russian software companies.
First of all, I should make it clear that I do support Russia’s WTO accession. However, I do not think that the complete withdrawal of government protection will help the industry.
Intelligent government can and should maintain its world-class innovators on the domestic market—both by creating an environment with favorable tax laws and a constructive business climate, and by creating local demand for innovative products developed domestically. This is what all leaders in technology including the U.S., Japan, Korea, Taiwan and now China, have all done.
The government can not directly develop any one segment of the economy on its own. Only entrepreneurs can do that. The government can only create a platform and the environment for staff development and guarantee education, healthcare, quality of life, legislation and law enforcement.
Joining the ITA will lead to the removal of existing customs clearance procedures, which are the basic barriers to the free movement of IT-goods into Russia. This will lead to the elimination of the imbalance in customs tariffs between components and final products (tariffs on components are much higher than those applied to end-products now). It will also lead to a radical simplification of customs inspections on IT hardware. As a result, the manufacturing of hardware in Russia could become an economically sound proposition.