In his speech during the discussion on economic issues Vladimir Putin noted that today Russia is the fastest growing economy in the G8. The President stressed the slowdown of inflation and said that the main targets of Russia’s economic policy are holding back the growth of the exchange rate of the rouble and maintaining a budget surplus.
The Russian Government has created and is maintaining a solid stabilization fund which has enabled it do repay its foreign debts without external borrowing. This year Russia will pay $17.3 billion under its foreign credits.
Vladimir Putin also touched upon Russia’s accession to the WTO. He said it could well take place on standard terms if the European Commission did not seek unjustified concessions on the Russian part. Vladimir Putin noted the significant progress of the talks on Russia’s accession to the WTO.
Russia may help speed up world economic growth by pursuing a stable and predictable energy policy, the President noted. During the discussion the head of state recalled that Russia is the biggest exporter of energy in the world and that Western companies were investing more and more actively in the Russian fuel and energy sector. The President singled out the investment of $6.5 billion made by British Petroleum into the Russian oil industry, and cited as an example the construction of a major gas pipeline to Turkey recently completed in partnership with Italy.
Vladimir Putin also backed the plans of closer cooperation between Russian and US oil companies.