17 september 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with John Deere CEO Samuel Allen

Vladimir Putin noted that the company is operating successfully and on a large scale in Russia, both selling and manufacturing equipment in the country. He also noted that the John Deere company had already set up a training centre in Domodedovo and will soon open one in the Kaluga Region. John Deere CEO Samuel Allen spoke about the company’s plans to continue localising production in Russia.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Allen, I'm very happy to see you. The John Deere company has been operating in Russia for a long time now. As early as the 1920s and 30s, your company participated in the mass mechanisation of the Soviet Union's agriculture and provided a vast amount of equipment.

Today John Deere is operating in Russia successfully and on a large scale, both selling and manufacturing equipment here.

You have set up an assembly plant. If I'm not mistaken, there are plans to continue expanding in this direction, and you are planning to invest about $500 million in production. You will soon open a training centre in the Kaluga Region and have already opened one in Domodedovo.

However, you know how our relationships with carmakers are developing. We have agreed with our partners that we will work together to localise production in Russia. I believe that we can discuss this issue with the John Deere company as well.

If initially your company transitioned from using the assembly plant to further localising your production, setting up production facilities in Russia and semi-knockdown assembly, government support and various programmes to promote your products would be possible.

Samuel Allen: Mr Prime Minister, thank you very much for those words of encouragement. And we certainly will take that back with us. 

We are truly excited about the opportunity to continue to localise both in Domodedovo and some of our other locations for the Russian market and also for neighbouring markets.

We have mentioned to Minister [of Economic Development Elvira] Nabiullina that right now we are experimenting with exporting our first machines from Domodedovo to Kazakhstan.

And out commitment is because we really believe agriculture has a very strong future in Russia. You know, Russia has the same amount of arable land as the United States has. And while there's no complete figure, we believe, we estimate that the value of agriculture that is exported from the US is approximately $120 billion per year and we think Russia has that same type of potential in the future. Part of that is happening because of the seed genetics and crops that before could not be produced at this latitude now can. So, for example, in this area people are now experimenting with soya bean. And I think when Russian agriculture gets to move beyond being not only a wheat producer and a wheat exporter, but then becoming a canola exporter and a soya exporter, then the power of agriculture and the ability of agriculture to help rural Russia will increase.