Experts from the National Research University Higher School of Economics and specialized organizations (RSPP, the VEB Institute for Research and Expertise and the Skolkovo Foundation) came up with seven import substitution strategies for the main industries for Russia.
Specialists in the field define import substitution as the "growing" of domestic industries capable of fully or partially replacing imported goods with domestic products with similar functionality. This process is accompanied by a change in the commodity structure of imports.
The sanctions imposed in 2022 led to a reorientation of import substitution in favor of achieving economic sustainability, filling gaps in value chains and activating the process of ensuring technological sovereignty…
Experts believe that in the current situation in industries it is impossible to create a universal import substitution strategy for all sectors of the economy.
To select actions in each case, seven basic strategies from three blocks can be considered, which are determined by the resource capabilities of various industries, the planning horizon, and the possibilities of global positioning.
As part of the first block, it is proposed to use strategies, the result of which will be visible in the long term. For example, this is R&D for the aircraft industry and electronics. This block also included the strategy of reintegration into global supply chains on more favorable terms.
In the second block, the experts identified strategies with results in the medium term, including the adaptation and localization of imported technologies, the “generic” model, which will require compulsory licensing of foreign products and reform of the intellectual property institution.
The third block of the most important is strategies with results in the short term, or the transition to the “-1” or “-2” generation of technologies. The essence of this approach is to satisfy internal consumption through simplified replacement products that will provide the user with the basic functionality of the product. This approach can be implemented by rationalizing standards, removing excessive requirements in the technical regulation of individual industries, and introducing parallel imports.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is aware of the initiatives of experts. The agency clarified that this study is about conceptual approaches to import substitution, and not about new strategic planning documents.
“For the most significant results, we see it expedient to group the proposed strategies according to the long-term formation of tangible results of the policy pursued,” the interlocutor from the department explained to the media. He believes that the fastest result can be obtained by reducing excessive requirements for products and rationalizing production standards, taking into account current opportunities. But in the medium term, mechanisms of reverse engineering, human capital development and digitalization of industries may come to the fore, and in the long term, R&D subsidies and partial integration into accessible global value chains.
Market representatives told the media that the government is already implementing similar approaches, such as supporting priority R&D, encouraging reverse engineering, and looking for new partners in friendly countries.
According to industry participants, the term “strategy” is used unnecessarily in the study of experts, although it looks more at different models of how industries operate under rapidly changing circumstances. They believe that building strategies is the interaction of science with officials and business, which is lacking right now.
On February 14, experts from leading Russian universities (Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow State University, Moscow Federal Law Academy) proposed to develop and implement a digital Gosplan system. With its help, it will be possible to quickly monitor the implementation of strategic decisions and government orders in real time.