Vladimir Putin took part in the APEC CEO summit.
PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
I am grateful to the Business Summitís organisers for the invitation to address the Asia-Pacific regionís business community. Meetings such as these are key events at the summit.
It was not so long ago that we met in Vladivostok, only a year ago. A number of changes have taken place in the world since then. The crisisí most acute phase, which we spoke about last year in Russia, is behind us now, but we cannot count on a swift recovery in the global economy. The current economic modelís problems are structural and protracted in nature.
Growth rates are slowing down or stagnating, even in the Asia-Pacific region, which until recently was the driving force in global development. The region still is this driving force, but nonetheless, forecast growth rates for the region in 2013 and 2014 are lower than what they were.
We think that accumulated global imbalances are the main cause of this situation. Eliminating them requires us to establish a new, long-term economic development model focused on growth in the real sector of the economy, quality job creation, and structural reform.
We discussed this modelís parameters last year in Vladivostok, and again in Russia recently at another big event, the G20 summit. The G20 leaders all agreed on the need to combine measures for stimulating economic growth with fiscal consolidation. This is a difficult task that would seem to be taking us in two different directions, but the G20 leaders nonetheless think it is a realistic objective and it was this goal that we enshrined in the St Petersburg Action Plan.
Economic policy must be closely tied to resolving social problems. This was the issue addressed by the first ever meeting between the G20 countriesí labour and finance ministers.
We need to find sources of investment financing and ensure a fairer distribution of risks. I think that in St Petersburg we succeeded in agreeing the basic principles for attracting institutional investors and strengthening bond markets.
Public-private partnerships will help us to attract more investment into the economy. Several big projects are already underway on this basis in Russia, including projects to develop the transport infrastructure in Siberia and the Far East. We invite business partners from the Asia-Pacific region to join in these projects and take part for example in the large-scale modernisation of the Trans-Siberian and Baikal-Amur railways, and developing the Northern Sea Route. I know that many Asian countries are very interested in developing this transport corridor.
We are giving foreign companies the conditions they need for working in Russia. The Russian Direct Investment Fund offers very reasonable if not preferential financing conditions and has already established good working ties with our partners in China and Japan.
Having a suitable tax system plays a big part too. The G20 summit gave this matter a lot of attention and we all agreed to combat tax evasion, including through offshores.
The issue of fiscal discipline is relevant for the Asia-Pacific economies too today, and APEC will therefore be looking at how to improve exchange of tax information.
Developing trade is another promising source of global development. We need to expand the network of regional and sub-regional free trade agreements. This was something mentioned too by practically all of the leaders who spoke at the summitís first meeting today. We need to simultaneously strengthen the global trade system and maintain the WTOís central role, and we also need to break the deadlock in the Doha trade round.
Russia is actively involved in integration underway in Eurasia. As you know, we established the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space together with our partners. These two organisations work in strict accordance with the World Trade Organisationís principles. We see this as our contribution to strengthening multilateral trade.
Finally, we cannot improve the global economyís health unless we invest in human capital. We must open up new opportunities for obtaining modern education that meets todayís demands, and bolster the social guarantees for young people, women, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups.
Last year, the APEC summit took place at the Far Eastern Federal Universityís campus. This modern university is becoming one of the Asia-Pacific regionís biggest educational centres. I am sure that openness in education is one of the important factors for stable growth in the future.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Integration and our common efforts through APEC facilitate development of a fair and open system for growth in the Asia-Pacific region, strengthen the economic and humanitarian ties between our countries, and help to raise our peoplesí living standards.
I am sure that the business community will continue to play a very active part in developing the regional and global economies. Our governments, for their part, will create the necessary conditions for improving the business climate and will lower administrative and trade barriers. I think that this cooperation between the business communities and the governments is the key to our common success.
Thank you for your attention. Thank you very much.
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