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Tuesday, 2 May 1989
Page: 1566


Senator GARETH EVANS —Mr President, I have some further information in response to a question asked of me by Senator Macklin on 13 April about free trade zones in the Soviet Far East. I seek leave to incorporate that material in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows-

Senator Macklin asked me on 13 April 1989 a question concerning the establishment of free trade zones in the Soviet far east, which I took on notice pending further consideration

I am now in a position to reply more fully to the honourable senator's question.

In its efforts at `perestroika', the USSR is placing special emphasis on development of the far east economy

Essential to the development strategy is the ability to attract foreign investment through joint ventures and, possibly, the creation of special economic zones.

As of April this year new regulations on joint ventures are designed to make the Soviet far east more attractive than other Soviet regions.

A group of Soviet experts is currently examining the proposal for the creation of special economic zones in various areas of the USSR

Its report is not due until the end of June.

From the limited reliable information available, the proposal for a free trade zone located in Nakhodka include

Full convertibility of the rouble, 100 per cent foreign ownership, and a separate bank and development corporation.

The government will continue to encourage Australian companies to look at any new potential field of economic opportunity or approach

The proposal for free trade zones in the Soviet far east is worth examining

However, the decision to enter into joint venture activities is entirely a commercial one.