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Regions ask for Special Economic Zone status

MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) - The Economic Development and Trade Ministry has received more than 20 applications from regions to create Special Economic Zones.

"We have already received about 24 applications from regions for both industrial and technical special economic zone status," said ministry official Marina Ovsyannikova.

Applicants include Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Moscow Region, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Penza and Nizhny Novgorod.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law on special economic zones on June 23.

A special economic zone is a territory within Russia with special rules for business activity, aimed at developing manufacturing, hi-tech production, new products and the transportation infrastructure. Each special economic zone must be within one municipal unit and its territory must not encompass an entire subject of the Russian Federation.

Residents within a special economic zone will receive tax and customs relief.

Residents will have their unified social tax lowered to 14% from 26%. In the first five years, residents of all special economic zones will be exempt from property and land tax.

Free customs systems will operate within the zones, according to which foreign goods could be brought into the zone and used without customs duties and taxes being levied.

The new law does not encompass the Kaliningrad and Magadan Regions, to which special laws already apply.

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