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A. Bonstra, S. Brazinskas, G. Bunatyan, V.I. Panteleyev, A.G. Kharin

Economic Bulletin №8. Enhancing regional competitiveness: tools and lessons learnt Nowadays, the problem of enhancement of competitiveness of the Kaliningrad economy is taking a central place among the issues of region’s development in connection with an increasing integration of the Russian economy into the system of world economic relations. The Kaliningrad region’s advantageous geographic location towards Russia’s major trade partner – the European Union, region’s well-developed transport infrastructure, relative cheapness of labour force and, of course, preferences of the Special Economic Zone have been the factors determining development of the region’s current economic specialisation. However, in light of inevitable changes of conditions of economic activity, which are already taking place (EU enlargement and related growth of isolation of the region from the mainland Russia, forthcoming Russia’s joining the WTO) it becomes obvious that further economic development of the region is impossible without a radical enhancement of competitiveness of Kaliningrad enterprises. The key to solving this problem relates to identification of main reasons for a low competitiveness of Kaliningrad enterprises as compared to similar indicators of foreign and Russian companies.

These issues has already been covered in many aspects by economic bulletins previously issued under the auspices of the Regional Development Agency and devoted to the most pressing issues of the Kaliningrad region’s economic development, in particular, by the bulletin «Competitiveness of Enterprises of the Kaliningrad Region: Analysis of Advantages in Costs and Productivity». The research of experts of the Regional Development Agency (which results are reflected in the indicated bulletin) was focused on a comparative analysis of competitiveness of Kaliningrad enterprises and on development of corresponding recommendations to companies and regional authorities on enhancing competitiveness of Kaliningrad businesses. The research was based on statistic data available to the wide public, as well as information collected in the course of implementation of the EuropeAid project «Support to Regional Development of Kaliningrad».

The International conference “Practical Recommendations to Enhancing Competitiveness of the Kaliningrad Region”, organised by the Regional Development Agency, Administration of the Kaliningrad Region, the Expert and Advisory Council within the Interdepartmental Working Group on Issues of Development of the Kaliningrad Region with the support of the EuropeAid project “Support to Regional Development of Kaliningrad” (EuropeAid/114287/C/SV/RU), which took place on September 22, 2005 served as the follow-up to this research. The results of this conference were reflected in development of practical recommendations for enhancing competitiveness of the Kaliningrad economy as a whole, and its specific sectors in particular.

The present bulletin summarises views and opinions of participants voiced at the conference. It contains practical recommendations and proposals aimed to support Kaliningrad companies and the region as a w hole in enhancing their competitiveness. As a separate section of the bulletin, one may find success stories of organisation of activity of development agencies abroad and a long-term master plan for the Kaliningrad Regional Development Agency proposed on the basis of summarising their experience.

The bulletin is prepared by European Commission experts of the EuropeAid/ 114287/C/SV/RU project “Support for regional development of Kaliningrad” and of the “Regional Economic Development Agency”. Authors of the Bulletin sections are A. Bonstra (Netherlands), S. Brazinskas (Lithuania), G. Bunatyan, V.I. Panteleyev, and A.G. Kharin.

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