The main issues discussed were trade, economic and investment cooperation, as well as partnership in the energy sphere.
After the talks Dmitry Medvedev and Mark Rutte met with Russian and Dutch business leaders to discuss the implementation of the Fifth Joint Action Programme for 2011–2013.
The two leaders were present at the signing of a general agreement between the Summa Group and the Port of Rotterdam for the construction and operation of an oil terminal. Dmitry Medvedev and Mark Rutte adopted a joint statement on holding the Year of Russia in the Netherlands and the Year of the Netherlands in Russia in 2013.
After the talks, the Russian President and Prime Minister of the Netherlands made statements for the media and answered journalists’ questions.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Kremlin. Perhaps this is not the best environment for discussing business, but it is a beautiful place that can put anyone in a good mood. Typically, business issues are discussed in more austere conditions, but this is the way it is here.
This is not our first meeting in this format. The last time we had a meeting with many of the Dutch and Russian business leaders present here was in Amsterdam in 2009. The people here today are our long-term, reliable partners, and we highly value the ties that exist between you, between our companies. We have a special relationship with the Netherlands, which is one of our top three trade and investment partners.
It is encouraging that last year the trade figures returned to the pre-crisis level and Dutch companies continue to invest in the Russian economy. The Dutch share in foreign investment in our fuel and energy complex is so large already it is almost hard to say it out loud – nearly 75%, which is a gigantic figure.
Almost all the oil that enters the Rotterdam ports is of Russian origin. We cooperate in other areas as well, in the production of mineral resources and energy distribution. Naturally, high-tech industries are very important for us, such as the manufacture of electronics, home appliances, the chemical industry, the food industry and banking. That covers practically all the areas of cooperation between our countries.
We have flagship projects, which are great examples of our investment work. These include Sakhalin-1, a liquefied natural gas plant. A number of agreements exist between Gazprom and Gasunie, and we are confident that these agreements will be performed and new projects will develop. Active efforts are underway to involve Dutch businesses in the production of natural resources in Yamal and the Kara Sea. New areas include renewable energy, which we should also talk about.
As I said, we are focusing on high technology. I attach great importance to joint projects in information and telecommunications, as well as biotechnology and nanotechnology. This year the Statement on Partnership for Modernisation was signed in the Hague. It is also an extremely valuable document. I hope that we can fill it with concrete examples of cooperation. We have already set up four joint research laboratories funded on a parity basis. This is a good example of how I think we could work in the future.
In general, all the issues of energy cooperation and cooperation in other fields as well as investments, including investments in infrastructure, are at the centre of our attention. Mr Prime Minister and I have just discussed some issues of our cooperation in the near future. Today I wanted to talk about what should be the companies’ focus in the coming years. I give the floor to Mr Prime Minister.
Prime Minister of The Netherlands Mark Rutte (re-translated): Thank you, Mr President.
Indeed, we had a long conversation after the OSCE summit on December 1, 2010 and joined a round table discussion at the NATO-Russia summit in Portugal. I think that those who are present here must remember 2007, when the first round tables were organised and when my predecessor visited Moscow at Mr Putin’s invitation. Today I am glad that we have another round table, Mr President.
I think this is a sign that the business relationship between Russia and the Netherlands has prospered. We discussed it in detail at our bilateral meeting and decided that, indeed, we must expand our cooperation, help businesses grow and increase our prosperity. The Netherlands is a small country but we have excellent technology, which we are proud of: our knowhow in agriculture, healthcare, energy and infrastructure. Of course, we have also talked about making up for our defeat in the World Cup by 2018.
But we also have many other things we can do together. I am sure that your companies can contribute to this. These are examples of areas in which we can work together, and they are based on a long-standing relationship between Russia and the Netherlands. So I'm very glad to meet with you here and have the opportunity to expand our cooperation. I understand that the modernisation process is actively underway in Russia. We would like to support this process through our businesses’ participation.