A delegation from Tatarstan was receiving training in Belgium from April 14 to April 18, 2014 according to the program “Automobile and chemical cluster development: competitive superiority of the region”.
The delegation was formed of representatives of NP Kama Innovation Territorial and Production Cluster, Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Republic of Tatarstan, Tatneftekhiminvestholding, JSC, L. Ya. Karpov Chemical Plant, JSC, Kazan Federal University, A. N. Tupolev KNITU, KNITU of Kazan Institute of Chemical Engineering. The goal of the trip was to study Flanders experience in automobile and chemical cluster development.
Flanders is an autonomous region in the north of Belgium, the world’s largest industrial centre with the world’s largest petrochemical cluster. On the 14th of April the head of administration of the President of Flanders, Mr. Carel Tobbac, told the training courses attendees about a new industrial and innovation policy of regional competitiveness and innovation development. Thus he described a smart specialization strategy consisting in study of potential for each part of the region and inclusion of missing elements creating added value in the production chain. The bottom-up strategy is also efficiently applied here. It provides for support of entrepreneurs’ initiatives, that’s why the government regularly organizes meetings with them.
The Director of Flanders agency for investments and trade of Flanders government, Mr. John Verzele, told the participants about the automobile and chemical clusters. He mentioned the work on gap searching in the value creation chain and company attraction there. It is possible to apply deduction of a conventional rate-mechanism for companies, which permits to get a tax rebate comparable with bank interest on credit, provided that innovation projects and scientific researches are financed from the company’s own funds, not from the company’s borrowed funds. Mr. John Verzele also thinks that absence of dividend tax has permitted Belgium to occupy the third place in the world by volume of direct foreign investments.
The Director for International Activity, Flemish Logistics Institute, Mr. Fransis Rom, told the audience about the logistics cluster. According to him, at the present time production facilities are shifting directly to product sale and consumption sites. Belgium has ten large logistic terminals and about seven hundred distribution centres rendering services of packing, marking and small-scale production. Cluster infrastructure development is ensured by investments made by the government of Belgium.
In the framework of the training program the participants visited Antwerp, Lommel, Ghent and Brussels.
Tatarstan delegation was familiarized with peculiarities of Belgian automobile and chemical clusters functioning and their development prospects. It was also presented experience of Czech Republic in cluster policy development in transition economy. The delegation visited leading organisations of the automobile and chemical clusters – Flanders Drive and Essencia Flanders, sea port of Antwerp, the logistics company DSV. Main aspects of their work, business models and examples of cluster initiatives were considered, as well.
The following meetings were also arranged during the visit: meetings with the Director of Czech national cluster association, Mr. Pavla Bruskova, Director of Brussels+, Mr. Vladimir Linkautan, Director of the sea port of Antwerp for chemical cluster development, Mr. Ksavie Vanrolleg, Managing Director of the project for innovation development in Flanders chemical cluster, Mr. F-ist Jan van Havenber.
Summarizing the results of the visit the program participants will prepare joint conceptual proposals on further development of cluster initiatives in Tatarstan.