Prime Minister Vladimir Putin participated in the Third Sino-Russian economic forum
28 october 2008
Vladimir Putin's opening address:
Mr Wen Jiabao, my colleague and friend,
It is my great pleasure to welcome the participants and guests of the Third Sino-Russian economic forum.
This cooperation and interaction format is relatively new. It arose from the "national years" of China and Russia, and has already proved relevant and effective. Now we have decided to make these meetings regular.
The relations between our countries have gathered the strongest momentum ever. They are based on mutual trust and deep affinity of national interests; they are devoid of time-serving considerations, and are truly beneficial to our nations.
Our political dialogue is very active. The Russian-Chinese interaction in the world arena has become stronger. The exchange of "national years" gave a powerful impetus to the development of cultural ties.
We have also been working hard to improve the quality of business partnership. We have accumulated an impressive potential for an economic breakthrough. Russia's Economic Development Minister, Elvira Nabiullina, has just said that in 2008 the trade turnover between our countries will break the record $50 billion.
Russian and Chinese companies' interest in mutual projects continues to grow, especially in the areas that determine the development prospects of our trade and economic relations.
This Forum's agenda it is a vivid illustration. It includes interaction in the high-tech, energy, civil aircraft building and banking sectors.
Our panel meetings will also address cooperation in agriculture, construction, deep timber processing, and others.
We plan to discuss the majority of these issues with Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Wen Jiabao during the thirteenth consequtive meeting at the level of Prime Ministers. I am sure that the proposals voiced at the Sino-Russian economic forum will be thoroughly analyzed and translated into life.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that I highly appreciate the work done by the agencies contributing to the development of our economic partnership. I mean the Russian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Machinery and High-Technology Products, as well as the Russian-Chinese Business Council and Russian-Chinese Centre of Trade and Economic Cooperation.
We expect these institutions to prove highly effective in improving the trade structure between our countries.
It is widely known that trade in machinery, equipment and high-tech products is one of the most problematic aspects of our interaction. The current state of affairs falls behind the two countries' potential. This particularly applies to relevant Russian exports to the Chinese market. I believe that by joint efforts we can boost mutual flows of science-intensive products.
We have great expectations for the energy sector. This year Deputy Prime Ministers met twice to discuss energy issues. This new mechanism's key aim is to streamline our energy cooperation, and to coordinate the activities of Russian and Chinese companies.
Our countries effectively interact in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The first stage of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant has gone on stream. Both units are working smoothly. We have agreed to build the second stage of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant. There are other important projects, for example, the construction of the fourth stage of the gas-centrifugal factory in China and an experimental fast neutron reactor.
We have also accumulated a considerable potential in civil aircraft production. We are aware of China's ambition to realize a large civil aircraft project. On our part, we are ready for cooperation that would correspond to the level and scope of strategic partnership between our countries.
I believe that our joint aircraft-building projects will help us to establish and develop comprehensive cooperation in aviation science, technology and engine building.
On the whole, closer contacts in innovative projects meet both our countries' interests. We are ready to boost cooperation in conducting joint research work and commercializing its results later, for example, in such popular areas of research as energy saving, ways to reduce harmful emissions, nanotechnologies and other areas.
A further expansion of investment cooperation is a major reserve for enhancing the quality of bilateral economic relations, including in deep timber processing, which I mentioned earlier.
It is a top priority task for Russia to develop modern processing plants in the timber industry sector and increase exports of high value added products.
For this reason, we are interested in both Russian and foreign companies' investments (Chinese in this case) in the Russian timber industry. It is logical that China, the largest consumer of our timber industry products, may become a source of such investments.
I know that this forum will also discuss our joint projects in agriculture with its vast potential for cooperation, as well as the sector's problems, which require urgent solutions. I hope that the present dialogue will become a major step to promoting institutional ties between competent agricultural agencies of the two countries.
Cooperation in construction is another big issue on the agenda, particularly within the scope of Russia's preparations for the Olympic Games in Sochi and for the APEC summit in Vladivostok. Our Chinese friends possess vast experience in holding such major events. The recent Olympic Games in Beijing are an excellent example. I am certain this experience will be extremely valuable for us. We also welcome Chinese companies' participation in tenders for building sports and infrastructure facilities.
Finally, I would like to touch upon another major issue. The forum will also discuss banking and financial problems. The whole world can see now, as we are all well aware, that the world based on the dollar is facing major problems and experiencing great setbacks. The situation on the global financial markets is still complicated.
I think that in the current situation we must consider ways to improve the payment system in our bilateral trade, including through coordinated movement towards a wider use of national currencies. This is complicated work, not a one-time move. But the need for a stage-by-stage transition to this measure seems quite obvious.
The future of Russian-Chinese trade and economic relations and their stable development depend directly on mutual understanding and partnership between business communities of the two countries, on coordinated efforts of all those who have gathered at this hall today. I sincerely wish every success to the Third Sino-Russian Economic Forum.
Thank you for your attention.
Vladimir Putin's closing remarks:
Ladies and gentlemen,
My speech was scheduled first, and I would like to apologize to our respected guest. But I cannot leave without thanking my colleague and friend for his very informative report. It contained extremely subtle and precise analysis of the global economic situation and our bilateral relations. It is a very important signal for developing international cooperation and bilateral relations between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China. I think it would be the right thing for all of us to thank the Chinese Prime Minister for his informative speech.