President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear friends!
Slightly more than two years ago at this very place I was forced to work a little bit; I was handed a shovel which still remains, of course, among the gardening tools at my dacha.
But that is not the most important thing. In a little over two years a fine operation has been established. General Motors has done everything necessary to fulfill all its obligations by creating a new, modern assembly plant near St Petersburg. I believe that this is an excellent occasion to meet and say clearly that this goal has been reached.
Another thing that I would like to say right now is that this project is a good example of full-value investment cooperation between Russia and the United States. I consider this amount, $ 300 million, to be a good investment. This enabled us to create a cutting-edge enterprise that produces modern and popular cars in a short period of time, and all commitments to invest were executed on time.
Today we are witnessing the completion of the work, and doing so despite financial problems that have arisen in the world today.
Of course, it is very important for us that citizens of Russia will work for the company and that a significant number of new jobs — more than one and a half thousand – will be created. And the project is designed in such a way that it can be expanded, only a fraction of the facilities are now being used.
And as we develop the market and start to reach the targets that we have set ourselves, we will introduce new assembly lines and new jobs will probably be created. This is again a sign of a good investment project and a project which is oriented towards the future.
Today we are talking about an initial output of 60,000 cars a year but if the project is developed successfully I think that the parties can envisage not only increasing the number of cars produced but also producing a significant portion of their components in Russia. In other words, the extent to which these automobiles will be situated in the Russian market will be greater. And this is also a good sign of cooperation.
I would now like to thank our American partners for the excellent job they have done. I would like to thank the St Petersburg authorities for having created all necessary conditions for rapid and intense activity, which produced these results in such a short time. And I would like to congratulate all of us on this landmark event.