President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Yanukovych. Thank you for agreeing to come to Russia for these working consultations.
As you know, Russia has become a full member of the World Trade Organisation, which Ukraine joined some time ago. In addition, we have agreed to and created a free trade zone within the CIS. I am confident that all of this will allow us to expand trade and economic ties, which already have great importance both for Russia and Ukraine.
I think it is no secret that the Russian Federation is the biggest market for Ukrainian goods. I'm not even talking about agriculture. I do not know the exact figures but about 80% of Ukraine’s agricultural exports are sold to Russia.
However, our cooperation in high technology, including such sectors as nuclear energy, space, shipbuilding, aviation and engine-building, is very far-reaching, and it would probably be extremely difficult, to put it mildly, for these industries in our countries to exist without each other. Russia is without doubt the main market for aircraft and helicopter engines. In fact Ukraine probably exports to Russia close to 100% of everything that these industries produce.
Cooperation between our countries goes far back and is very productive. New instruments have made it possible to expand our ties. I am very glad that today we will have an opportunity to discuss all these issues informally.
President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych: Thank you for this invitation, Mr Putin. It will be a pleasure.
I would like to say that we could not assume a different attitude to the process underway at the moment: you are building trade relations with WTO partners. We believe that Ukraine is one of Russia's major trading partners, and our cooperation has special importance for the sectors you have mentioned. Therefore, we would like for this process to be as effective as possible. What do I mean by effective? [We need to] understand which categories of goods will now be traded under a new regime.
Looking ahead, what joint steps should our states take to secure and expand our export markets? All high-tech products, the high-tech industries you have named are major growth points for our economy, as well as for yours. We would like to see our cooperation expand beyond the Russian market to the third countries, particularly the CIS and other states, especially the developing Asian market. You are better adapted to those markets due to your membership in a variety of Asian organisations, and we would like Russia to be our partner in an organisation such as the SCO, for example. We would like to become SCO observers to be able to participate in the integration processes taking place in that organisation.
We have talked about all this earlier but perhaps it has now gained great practical importance. I would like us to achieve the greatest possible clarity on all of these issues today: what we are going to do with the aircraft industry, power engineering, shipbuilding, and so on.
Perhaps we will have a little time to talk about gas. We believe that this topic will never be taken off the agenda in our relations, and it will always remain sensitive. We would like to change our position in relations with Russia to a degree.
We have a great deal to talk about, and what is most important is that both parties are committed to this dialogue.
Vladimir Putin: You have mentioned the Asian aspect of our cooperation. I know and you have just said it yourself that Ukraine is looking for opportunities to expand its export markets, including by building ties with the dynamically developing Asian market.
Russia will host the APEC summit in the near future, which will be a summit of all the states with a coastline on the Pacific Ocean. We will be happy to inform you in detail about all the prospects and opportunities.
In fact, I think that if we were able to grant Ukraine observer status in this very important international forum, it would be useful for both the Russian and the Ukrainian economy. Let's talk about that today, too.