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Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum’s CEO Summit on the Asia-Pacific region’s significance for Russia

Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum’s CEO Summit on the Asia-Pacific region’s significance for Russia

Mr Putin said, in particular, that Russia views cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region as a strategic priority. The President also told summit participants about Russia’s plans to expand its cooperation with Asia-Pacific region countries, including through increased trade and investment incentives.

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Transcript of APEC CEO Summit meeting

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Ladies and gentlemen,

The APEC CEO Summit is traditionally considered one of the most representative forums for broad discussions on economic issues. I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak on a subject of great importance for us – developing Russia’s cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region.

The twenty-first century has already been called ‘the Pacific century’. As part of the Asia-Pacific region, Russia must make use of the competitive advantages offered by this fast-growing economic, technology and innovation centre.

In turn, Russian regions such as Siberia and the Far East offer a unique chance for this vast region’s countries to effectively develop and make use of the opportunities there and further strengthen their potential.  

Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region is one of Russia’s strategic priorities. The overall constructive spirit that characterises our relations with the vast majority of countries in the region is very important. We value this spirit greatly and will do everything possible to develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas. 

Many Asia-Pacific region countries offer successful examples of roads to follow in developing their competitive abilities. They have taken the lead in innovation sectors and have considerable financial and investment resources at their disposal. Even faced with the negative global trends of recent years, they have kept up a good pace and had only a slight slowdown in growth.

At the same time, in order not to end up caught in a more protracted slowdown, countries in the region will need to carry out significant structural reforms. It is not by chance that our Chinese friends, for example, have made this issue one of the priorities for the APEC presidency.

Russia is no exception here. Structural economic transformation is one of our top priorities. Trade with the Asia-Pacific region countries represents more than a quarter of Russia’s total trade today.

We want to increase this share to 40 percent and we are taking concrete steps to expand the geography of our exports and increase the share of non-raw materials and high-tech goods.

In the Far East, we plan to establish a network of fast-growth zones offering tax incentives and simplified administrative procedures. The plan is that the companies located here will focus on narrow exports of non-raw materials, above all to the Asia-Pacific region.  

Ladies and gentlemen, let me take this occasion to invite you to make use of the opportunity opening up to organise production operations in Russia’s Far East. Let me say again that we are ready to offer you the best and most competitive conditions for your work. Direct foreign investment from Asia-Pacific region countries in the Russian economy has doubled since 2009 and now comes to nearly $10 billion.

Russian investment in the Asia-Pacific region countries is more modest and came to slightly more than $1 billion as of the end of last year. We will work actively to correct this imbalance. We hope in particular that the establishment of the National Coordination Centre for Developing Economic Relations with the Asia-Pacific Region Countries will make it possible to launch new projects with Russia’s involvement.

The People’s Republic of China is one of our key partners in the region. We will make greater use of settlements in our national currencies in our trade with China. We are already carrying out our first deals in rubles and yuan. Let me say that we are ready to extend such possibilities to trade in the energy sector too.

Our experts are currently studying these options. An intergovernmental Russian-Chinese commission on investment cooperation is also at work. Its main task is to promote investment projects in sectors other than energy on the basis of mutually advantageous cooperation.

We plan to use similar formats for developing our dialogue and practical cooperation in the investment sector with other partners too. Economic integration is clearly taking the fore on the APEC agenda today.

We believe that a major achievement of the Chinese presidency has been securing agreement on concrete steps towards establishing a future Asia-Pacific free trade zone. This plan should take into account the interests of all future participants, the unique features of our economies and the considerable differences in our development. Naturally, the future Asia-Pacific free trade zone should work together with other big regional economic associations. 

To be continued.

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