The Forum’s main theme this year was innovation cooperation.
Twelve documents on cooperation in various areas were signed within the framework of the forum, in particular on prevention of industrial accidents, catastrophes and natural disasters, supplying crude oil and refined products to Kazakhstan, on the environment, energy, and car manufacturing. Bilateral documents between Russian and Kazakhstani regions were also signed.
Later, Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev made statements for the press.
The Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum has taken place annually, with the two countries alternating as hosts, starting from the first meeting in Omsk (Russia) in 2003.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues and friends,
I address my words to both delegations, the Russian and Kazakhstani delegations. Looking at Russia’s delegation, I see that there are many federal government ministers present, and also many regional governors.
Kazakhstan is hosting the Forum for the fourth time now. The previous venues in Kazakhstan were Uralsk, Aktyubinsk and Ust-Kamenogorsk. The Russian Federation has hosted the event five times – in Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, Orenburg and Astrakhan. The Forum is producing bigger practical results with each passing year. I think you see this for yourselves. When I meet with you in your regions – I mean my Russian colleagues – cooperation with Kazakhstan in various areas is always on the agenda, be it technical or industrial cooperation, work together on infrastructure – something always comes up. In other words, life itself obliges us to pay attention to these issues. If this is the case, then it is our duty to settle any problems that arise as swiftly and effectively as possible.
Today’s agenda is devoted to a particularly important and very topical issue – innovation cooperation. Our two countries’ regions have similar tasks to address. They include diversifying sources of economic growth, and keeping up the pace of economic growth, which, as we know, is a top priority for any country and for us too. Other priorities include infrastructure projects and the need to develop our scientific, technological, and investment potential.
We have already established a decent foundation for interregional high-technology cooperation. Seventy six of Russia’s 83 regions have business contacts with partners in Kazakhstan. Most active among them are Moscow, Moscow Region, Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk, Orenburg, Novosibirsk and Kurgan regions, Altai and Krasnoyarsk territories, and the republics of Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and Khakassia. More than 400 joint ventures operate in the border regions, and, as Mr Nazarbayev said before when we discussed bilateral and regional issues one-on-one, 600 companies are represented at the Forum today.
We want to see not only big companies play an active part in innovation cooperation, but small and medium-sized enterprises too. This is particularly important. The experts estimate that SMEs account for around 30–35 percent of all innovative products and services in developed economies.
The machine-building sector is one of our priority areas for developing the use of new technology. As Mr Nazarbayev also mentioned just now, over the coming years we plan to build a full-cycle car plant in Kazakhstan. We are also interested in organising a joint business to assemble Ka-226T helicopters for civilian use. The Russian-Kazakhstani Nanotechnology Venture Fund has been established to encourage innovation cooperation. These are just some of the bigger joint projects. Of course, as Mr Nazarbayev also mentioned, we also continue our work together in the space sector through the world-famous Baikonur space launch centre.
Carrying out these programmes will help us to maintain the existing links and fine-tune new industrial links, and this will increase the scale and quality of industrial cooperation between our countries and business partners.
Making use of innovative solutions and technology will make our transport systems vastly more reliable and effective. For neighbours such as us, with a common border stretching over almost 7,000 kilometres (the longest land border in the world), this is an absolutely top priority, above all so as to establish the Europe-Western China transit corridor. This route will run from St Petersburg through Kazan, Orenburg, Aktyubinsk and Almaty to the border with China, and will not only bring a huge improvement to the transport infrastructure in Russia and Kazakhstan, but will open shorter and more profitable routes for trade between Europe and the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.
Of course, innovation is above all about new ideas and bold and creative solutions, and so we need to make full use of our countries’ scientific and educational potential. The achievements of our countries’ universities and research centres are well known. What’s more, many of them have been working productively together for a long time now. In May this year, Omsk hosted the second forum of universities from the Russian and Kazakhstani border regions, with 25 universities taking part.
The Customs Union and the Common Economic Space open up broad new opportunities for developing bilateral cooperation, placing in our hands a huge market of 165 million consumers. This chance to harmonise our legislation and ensure free movement of people, capital, goods, and labour will play a crucial part in making our countries more competitive.
We hope that the Russian and Kazakhstani regions will make the fullest possible use of these opportunities and the new development possibilities, in order to achieve a real breakthrough in carrying out the long-term projects of such importance for both countries.
I wish you success. Thank you for your attention.