Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends, good evening.
I am very pleased to welcome you all to St Petersburg on the first day of the International Economic Forum’s work.
Meetings with members of leading global investment and sovereign funds have become the Forum’s wonderful tradition. This is the fifth time we are meeting in this format. Present in this room are investors from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America. This representation shows that there is still a high level of interest in Russia and the new projects in our nation, despite all the complications in the global economy, politics, and individual markets.
According to last year’s figures, direct foreign investments in the Russian economy constituted nearly $21 billion, based on our Central Bank’s data, and in the last three years, the inflow of capital from foreign strategic investors exceeded $140 billion.
Let me stress that Russia is open to long-term, mutually beneficial partnership. We are set to broaden economic freedoms, create the most comfortable possible conditions for investing in the Russian economy – first and foremost, in infrastructure projects and high value-added manufacturing.
Our absolute priorities include maintaining a balanced, responsible fiscal and monetary policy, generally ensuring predictable macroeconomic conditions for successfully doing business and capital investment growth in the Russian economy.
Our fundamental position is that we don’t want to create any barriers or limitations to the flow of capital. As you recall, we did not resort to such measures even during the period of hardship for the national currency and the increase in capital outflow. Incidentally, the same thing happened in 2008 during the global economic crisis, and this is also happening now.
We will continue to develop contacts with foreign business circles and the investment community. And in this respect, I expect that today, we will have a sincere, trust-based discussion. That is why we have gathered here. Among other things, I would like to hear directly from you about the difficulties you are still facing in Russia, the institutions and instruments you think need to be further developed or activated to expand investment cooperation.
I will note that the Russian Direct Investment Fund plays a significant role in developing this dialogue. Together with its partners, the Fund has already invested over 400 billion rubles in the Russian economy, attracting over $15 billion for long-term partnerships. And this is an indicator of the level of mutual trust between foreign strategic investors and Russian structures.
New record-breakers have appeared within the framework of cooperation through the Fund. One of our Arab friends has already participated in 15 Russian Direct Investment Fund transactions. Over ten projects have been implemented jointly with colleagues from the China Investment Corporation.
Incidentally, the Russian-Chinese Investment Fund was created together with our Chinese partners. It participates in the creation of the Silk Road infrastructure projects. This project, which will be closely integrated with the Eurasian Economic Union, can certainly become a reference one for the entire Eurasian continent.
Finally, I will note that the Russian Direct Investment Fund’s work is not limited to attracting foreign capital or expertise to Russia. The Fund plays a major role in supporting domestic businesses. This mainly concerns export-oriented companies. I am referring to a wide range of mechanisms, from helping with fund raising to introducing products to international markets. In short, a system of comprehensive project support is being built, which significantly reduces investment risks.
In conclusion, ladies and gentleman, I will say the following: all participants in our today’s meeting associate their businesses, their work, and their future plans with the success of their ventures in Russia. I want to wish all of you success in those ventures.