20 june 2008

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Zinaida Greceanii

Vladimir Putin

Meeting with Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Zinaida Greceanii

"I would like to note that we are happy with the way trade and economic links between Russia and Moldova are developing. You only have to look at the rate at which our trade is growing. Last year it stood at $1 billion. This is a good indicator. I am sure that we have grounds to expect that our relations will continue developing at the same pace."

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. As we have agreed in Minsk, we now meet in Moscow.

First of all, I would like to note that we are happy with the way trade and economic links between Russia and Moldova are developing. You only have to look at the rate at which our trade is growing. Last year it stood at $1 billion. This is a good indicator. I am sure that we have grounds to expect that our relations will continue developing at the same pace.

I know that you had meetings with our energy people today. There were many questions, but all of them are being addressed. As my colleagues have just reported to me, the dialogue was marked by a constructive spirit. We hope that we will be mutually accommodating and will solve all the problems that arise through negotiations. We will develop our relations for the good of the people of Moldova and Russia.

Zinaida Greceanii: Thank you, Prime Minister Putin. I was glad to accept your invitation. To me it is very important that my first working visit as prime minister is to the Russian Federation. And I am very glad that you have invited me to visit Russia because your country is our strategic partner.

You have already noted the high level of our trade and economic relations. As you know, I was previously a co-chairperson of the Moldovan-Russian Intergovernmental Trade and Economic Cooperation Commission.

The facts attest to the development of the relationship between our countries. Relations between Russia and Moldova have been increasingly positive since 2006; it is more than the growing trade. I think trade this year will exceed $1 billion. All signs point to this. Another proof of our developing relations is the significant amount of investment in the Moldovan economy, including investments by Russian companies.

Last year very important measures were taken to liberalise the Moldovan economy. Moldova is interested in earning a profit honestly. We have zero income tax. This was done to attract additional investment.

Most important, Moldova has created an absolutely level playing field for foreign and local investors. There are no preferences for anyone. That is very important.
The relations and the trade preferences that we have with European Union countries open up good opportunities for the export of Russian goods from the Moldovan market to the market of the European Union countries and vice versa. So, we invite everyone to cooperate.

I think that in the future our relations will develop in a very constructive manner. As you noted at the very beginning we had indeed a very constructive meeting with Gazprom today. We will continue our cooperation, and in fact I have experience working with this company. We will continue to develop our relationship. The most important thing is that people have sat down at the negotiation table, look each other in the face and understand what needs to be done. That is very important.

* * * 

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Zinaida Greceanii made statements for the press after their meeting

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

First of all, I would like to thank Prime Minister Greceanii for accepting our invitation and visiting Moscow, for bringing along a high-powered delegation of Moldovan colleagues, who had a chance to meet with Russian ministers.

Today Ms Greceanii held very substantive talks with Gazprom.

I would like to note that the relations between Moldova and the Russian Federation in economics are developing successfully. Of course, not everything is going smoothly. There are problems, but they are being addressed. They are being addressed because both sides seek to resolve them.

We note the commitment of our partners to cooperation. The results are there for everyone to see: last year trade between our two countries grew by 38% to $1 billion. The same rate of growth has been sustained this year. I am sure it will bring real and tangible benefits to the citizens of our countries.

You know that in former times we faced some problems in the economic sphere, notably the supply of wine. Today I am happy to note that these issues are being solved and our former agreements are being complied with.

We noted today that there are opportunities for increasing supplies of agricultural products, vegetables and wine to Russian markets. Already 25 Moldovan enterprises are working for the Russian wine market. As my colleagues have told me, our experts will soon visit 22 enterprises. If the review is positive, 50 Moldovan enterprises will supply their products to Russia.

I think that this is good news for our consumers because Moldovan products are in demand, and on two criteria - price and quality - comfortably meet international standards.

Needless to say, we paid due attention to the Transdnestr settlement. The Prime Minister conveyed an oral message from the president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, on this issue. We are in contact with him. I know his position on these problems very well.

We will continue to work to find a solution acceptable to all the parties concerned. It is not a simple problem. But I think, given the good will of the Transdnestr and Moldovan sides, and with our mediation as well as the mediation of other parties to the process, we will manage to solve this complex problem, which is a hangover from the Soviet times.

On the whole, we are satisfied not only with our cooperation but with the progress of today's talks. I am glad to note that our relations with Moldova are developing not only in the economy but also in culture.

Today we said that Days of Russian Culture are to be held in Moldova in the autumn. I very much hope that they will be successful and will attract enthusiastic interest of the Moldovan public, which, I am sure, will welcome the opportunity to look at Russian performance groups, both ones they know and ones they don't.

I would like to thank the Prime Minister for the constructive dialogue and for the business-like approach that we see on the part of the Moldovan Government.
Thank you for your attention.

Zinaida Greceanii: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen.

First of all, I would like to tell you, Prime Minister Putin, how sincerely grateful I am for the reception accorded to the whole Moldovan delegation and for the constructive approach we have found to resolve the issues that help us develop our relations.

I would like to note the constructive work of the Russian-Moldovan Intergovernmental Commission. I was for a while its co-chair on the Moldovan side. At present the Moldovan co-chairman is First Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of the Economy and Trade of Moldova, Igor Dodon. I have asked Prime Minister Putin to keep Andrei Fursenko as the Russian co-chair of the Commission.

Vladimir Putin: We will do that.

Zinaida Greceanii: Thank you. It will help us to develop our mutual relations constructively. The co-chairs meet and outline the measures to be taken at the level of experts. The most heartening thing is that since 2006 these measures have been of a constructive character. The main thing is that the name of the co-chairman should put the experts in a good working mood.

Mr Putin has noted that we had a constructive meeting at Gazprom in the morning. We still have some outstanding problems that we will solve for the sake of mutually beneficial cooperation and mutually beneficial development of our joint enterprise in which the Moldovan Government and Gazprom are shareholders. This is our common company on Moldovan territory, Moldovagaz.

We are interested in a direct supply of gas from the supplier without intermediaries. So we will solve all the issues together, and I think we will reach a common understanding.

I told Prime Minister Putin about the opportunities for further mutual investment in the Moldovan economy. Our country has a liberal economy. Last year, at the initiative of the Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, measures were introduced to liberalise the economy. I think they will yield concrete results this year. They include zero tax on the income of entrepreneurs, the tax amnesty and legalisation of capital both for legal entities and individuals until January 1 next year.

This is a real chance to invest in Moldova's economy and a real chance for Moldova to export goods. Let me note that Moldova is between two economic blocs: the CIS countries and the European Union. From March 1 this year, Moldova has enjoyed preferential trade terms with the countries of the European Union and free trade with the CIS countries. So, it is very profitable to produce goods in Moldova and export them to all the markets.

We are addressing all the issues regarding the export of wine, fruits and vegetables and meat produced in Moldova, including our exports to Russia. In the future we will improve the quality of goods bringing them up to European and international standards. The Russian market demands it, the producers and importers from the Moldovan market understand it.

We have agreed to increase trade because the current level of $1 billion is not the limit for trade between our countries. There is potential for growth, and there will be growth. The most important thing is a mutual agreement. Today we have reached such an agreement.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.