President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
Today, we will discuss the draft of Russia’s Economic Security Strategy. This document outlines the most important areas of work to ensure our country’s economic, technological and financial sovereignty.
Only recently, it seemed that there was no need for such documents, but judging by what is happening today, we do need to reflect on the various challenges we will discuss at this meeting.
We are witnessing profound and large-scale processes underway in the world. New centres of global economic growth are emerging. Every year brings more competition for markets, technology and capital. Economic restrictions, pressure, and sanctions are being used more often in political aims, and under the guise of pursuing political objectives are being used quite simply as a means in the competitive fight.
We must take these trends into account and pre-empt these risks and threats. Our fundamental, principle response here is to develop our own economic potential. This does not mean that we will shut ourselves from the global economy, but that we will bolster our own effectiveness. This will give us the resources we need to resolve social tasks and will enable us to provide reliable guarantees of our national interests and security.
We must achieve growth rates higher than the global rates. Yes, only a short time ago, we were talking of higher growth rates, but we are conscious of the situation in the global economy and in our economy and we must adjust our plans accordingly. We must, however, reach growth rates higher than the global rates by 2019–2020. To achieve this goal, the Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly contains an instruction issued to the Government of the Russian Federation to draft a concrete action plan.
The global competitiveness of all of various economic sectors and companies, business climate, and our state management and governance should be the cornerstone of this growth. Equally important – and I want to particularly emphasise this – is to have a competitive science and education system. We must be flexible, be the first to respond to changes in global development, and take part in forming promising new markets.
The explosive development of technology, which amounts to a veritable technological revolution, radically changes production, finance and banking process and impacts on people’s way of life and on the situation in entire economic sectors.
Possessing original home-grown technology is becoming one of the most important factors for ensuring a country’s sovereignty. This is something discussed in detail at a recent meeting of the Council for Science and Education and in the annual Address to the Federal Assembly.
To raise our civilian sectors’ competitiveness, we should make use of the scientific and technological potential our defence industry offers. This is also something we have discussed on past occasions.
Growing protectionism is another of today’s trends. We must be more active in promoting our companies’ interests on global markets, protect them from unfair competition, and make use of the opportunities that regional integration organisations offer.
We should create the best possible conditions for developing non-commodities exports, cut the costs for Russian exporters, and optimise tax and customs control, including through using information technology. We also need to improve the financial mechanisms for supporting exporting contracts.
Overall, we must continue to put in place a favourable investment and business climate. I stress that our national jurisdiction’s competitiveness is also one of the most important guarantees of our country’s economic security.
Finally, we must ensure that our big companies do not leave for foreign jurisdictions. There is no point in simply hectoring them for this. They do this because they feel more secure there and find the instruments used there to organise and support economic activity better regulated. We must offer the same here, and our country has all the conditions needed to do this.
Colleagues, we must pay particular attention to balanced development of our country’s territory. We must make maximum use of each region’s potential. We need to open new production facilities and create new jobs, and thus provide the basic conditions for demographic development and raising living standards.
It is in this logic that we are working on developing the Far East. Given this region’s proximity to the big Asia-Pacific economies, we are putting in place the best possible competitive conditions in the full sense of the word for doing business. We will respect in full these conditions that we are offering investors, whether Russian or foreign.
National and federal targeted programmes now have special sections on the Far East, and financing for specific areas should be calculated in such a way as to make it possible not just to make up the gap, but also to ensure rapid growth in these regions and strengthen their human capital. Yury Trutnev [Deputy Prime Minister and Plenipotentiary Presidential Envoy to the Far East Federal District] will brief us today on the state of progress with these tasks.
Finally, macroeconomic stability is another essential condition for sustainable development. I hope that the Government and the Central Bank will continue to pay particular attention to ensuring our banking system’s financial stability and making credit resources more accessible for the real sector of the economy. I also spoke about this in quite some detail in my annual Address.
More important still is that I discuss these issues with the country’s financial authorities at our meetings behind closed doors, but meetings should take place behind closed doors only up to a certain time, until a decision has been drafted. In principle, it is clear what we need to do and how we need to do it. We just need to work hard.
We also need to reduce our national monetary and credit system’s dependence on fluctuations on the global financial and goods markets, and continue our efforts to clean up the banking sector. Of course, in this area too, we must take a careful approach and always keep the possible social consequences in mind.
We must take measures to prevent the unlawful capital flight and improve measures for preventing cyber-attacks on our financial infrastructure.
Let us now start the concrete discussion.