Mr Medvedev noted that the two countries have promising opportunities for business cooperation in high-tech sectors such as peaceful nuclear energy, space, and energy and transport infrastructure. The oil and gas sector and shipbuilding industry also offer broad opportunities for joint projects.
Later, Mr Medvedev laid a wreath at the Monument to Argentine national hero General Jose de San Martin.
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Opening Remarks at Meeting with Russian and Argentine Business Community Members
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I want to thank you for this meeting. I am very pleased to have the chance to meet with members of the Argentine and Russian business communities here, in this lovely place. I think that these sorts of contacts are an exceptionally important part of bilateral visits, and today’s event has special significance, if only because it is the first of its kind, given that this is the first visit by a Russian President to Argentina.
I would like to discuss today the projects that we already have underway, and also answer any questions that our Argentine friends and Russian colleagues might have.
I think we need to discuss the current state of affairs. I want to start by saying that we have made considerable progress of late. Trade between Russia and Argentina has posted a several-fold increase over these last few years. In 2009, for understandable reasons, our trade turnover dropped, falling by around 30%, but this is not such a dramatic decrease and we had a similar situation in our trade with other countries. Argentina remains one of our biggest partners in Latin America, however, and I am sure that we can make up the ground we lost due to the global financial crisis through launching new projects and quite simply injecting new vigour into our trade relations.
We are on the verge of starting practical implementation of promising projects in high-tech sectors such as peaceful nuclear energy, space, and energy and transport infrastructure. Among the Russian delegation here are the heads of big Russian state-owned and private companies.
We already have successful examples of cooperation in the energy sector. Today, more than a quarter of Argentina’s electricity is produced using Russian turbines. Our companies are ready to provide services in transportation. The oil and gas sector and shipbuilding industry also offer broad opportunities for cooperation. I think there is no need to go through the whole list of the different sectors in which we are working together, but there is one area that does indeed deserve our attention. Of course, representatives of Argentina’s agriculture are also here today. This is a sector in which we have quite active cooperation and I am sure that we therefore have plenty to discuss.
Looking at the tasks before the Russian economy today, we have launched a new programme for economic modernisation and technological development. Our Argentine partners are doing the same thing, and in this context cooperation between Russian and Argentine businesses could be useful. Energy is all very well, and trade in commodities is also important, but without advanced technology our economies have no future.
I do not want to jump ahead and anticipate what the other speakers here will say. I am sure that our Argentine and Russian colleagues and partners will have things to add to what I have just said. I propose that we open the floor for a free exchange of ideas on what we have accomplished so far and what still needs to be done.
Once again, thank you for inviting me to this meeting today.