President Vladimir Putin (talking to Sergei Lavrov): Sergei Viktorovich, I would ask you to begin today’s meeting. Please tell us about preparations for the APEC summit in Chile.
Sergei Lavrov: The summit opens on 20 November and lasts two days. Asian-Pacific cooperation is a growing, promising forum. Since last year, several of our specific initiatives have been realised, including the so-called dialogue on non-ferrous metals, and cooperation in the war on terrorism. This year, we plan to pass a declaration where these areas will be made specific. An individual document will be passed on fighting corruption. You will hold a meeting with the APEC business council, with the participation of Russian businessmen, which will examine the possibilities for further development of cooperation among business communities. This meeting will be preceded by a meeting of ministers of foreign affairs and trade from APEC countries, where along with specific economic issues that have been prepared for the summit, tasks for realising goals will be discussed, which the heads of state have set for a special group for fighting terrorism. Among the topics under discussion will be projects for agreements on increasing the security of transport communications, and increasing security of export and import, so that they cannot be used for bioterrorism. So the programme is quite extensive. You will make two visits: to Chile and Brazil. Around 20 agreements are being prepared for these countries. The agreements involve cooperation in space, cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy, scientific and technical, cultural and sport cooperation, interaction between banks, and also treaties and agreements which are designed to stop avoidance of tax payments on capital. So these are quite important agreements, which will significantly advance our cooperation with Latin America.
Mr Putin: Good. Will we have more meetings on these issues?
Mr Lavrov: You will have a meeting with the U.S. President, and the leaders of China, Japan and Mexico. Preparatory meetings are going full speed ahead , and we will report to you about this closer to the summit.
Mr Putin: Sergei Viktorovich, by the way, I watched your interview. I want to thank you for the comprehensive picture of our foreign policy priorities. I would also like to note that we, of course, have always fulfilled and will continue to fulfill all the obligations we have taken on, especially ratified documents, but of course we will do this to the same extent that our partners are prepared to fulfill the same agreements. So far, as we know, we have not been able to reach an understanding of what this extent is in the way that we see it and as we saw it in 1956. We will talk about this again later.
Mr Lavrov: I can say that so far no one has even tried to realise these agreements.
Mr Putin: I know that the economic results for October have been summarised. Several things have caused us concern. How do matters stand?
Mr Gref: We have the results of economic development in October, although so far we do not have a breakdown of industries, and we should receive it this evening and make a final conclusion as to how each industry is developing. In October, in comparison with September 2004, the growth of industrial production was 0.7%. In comparison with October 2003, it was 3.5%. The accumulated growth of industrial production for the first 10 months of 2004 was 6.2%. This is a good result in comparison with the previous three months. The growth is quite good, for the end of the year, you could say it was very good, because towards the end of the year there is a certain decrease in growth rates. So a great deal will depend on how industry develops in the last two months, the results for the year will depend on this. It is clear from the first figures: growth in machine building and metal-working was 112% in comparison with January-October 2003. And growth in October in comparison with September 2004 – was 0.9%. So far, I repeat, it is clear that a slump is continuing in a whole range of industries, such as freight and light machine building, and we will analyse the reasons for this when we receive the final figures. But on the whole, in industry we can see that the pause in October has stopped, and growth has resumed.
Mr Putin: So we can say that tendencies are changing for the better?
Mr Gref: Yes, in October tendencies changed for the better, but nevertheless it is too early to make any long-term conclusions yet. We will have to look at the last two months. But 0.7% for October is the first time growth has been this high in half a year.
Mr Gref: Good, thank you.