Vladimir Putin: I would like to start by thanking Mr Mangold for the optimism he expressed both on the development of the Russian economy, and on the future of Russian-German economic ties. I fully share this optimism.
It is very pleasing that we are here today in Hannover. The exhibitions are impressive, and I hope that the Russian-German Economy Day which we are opening now will also serve the purpose for which we have gathered here, the development of economic ties in Europe – between Russia and Germany. The meeting held as part of this Day has served as a starting point to realise promising joint projects, projects which can enrich and diversify the palette of our economic ties. Germany is one of the leaders of economic cooperation with Russia; there are people present here who are professionally involved in the economy.
As I have already said, Germany makes up for around 10% of Russia’s foreign trade turnover. And in 2004 this trade turnover reached record figures: according to various calculations, these figures vary from $23 billion to 31 billion Euros. According to the methods used in the European Union, the figures are 31 billion Euros.
German business is becoming increasingly active on the Russian market, and well understands its prospects and attractiveness. It is sufficient to say that currently on the territory of our country there are 3,500 companies with 100% German capital or mixed Russian-German capital.
We have already laid a firm foundation for business cooperation. But today we have all the opportunities to widen and diversify our ties, and increase their quality.
We can deepen our partnership by bilateral and multilateral scientific and technical contacts and cooperation, and also by creation joint plants, and not just in our countries, but on global markets. Today, incidentally, we were informed of promising cooperation between German and Russian partners.
There are significant prospects above all in high technology spheres. Among them are energy, aircraft construction, space, protection of the environment, energy saving technologies, telecommunications, and ecologically pure agricultural production. Our exhibition gives convincing proof of Russia’s unique capabilities in these spheres.
I am certain that in future we will be able to talk about the formation of a full technological and production alliance between Russia and Germany. It was very pleasing for me yesterday to hear this from our German colleagues, when as they opened the exhibition they talked about the priorities of high technology in Germany. I must say that in Russia, these are the tasks that we set ourselves, and for us, perhaps even more than in Germany, high technology is a priority. Of course, we do not intend to reject our natural advantages – I mean the enormous supplies of raw hydrocarbons in Russia – but we do not want for our economy to develop one-sidedly. We want for middle business to develop in Russia, and to make sure that in the social sphere we do not have only multimillionaires and people living below the poverty line.
We can achieve this result in the social sphere – and we understand this perfectly well – only by developing high technology spheres, machine construction, and processing. It was pleasing for me to note that in this area, we have established good cooperation with our German partners. The most simple, lucid and understandable example for everyone is the manufacture of agricultural equipment. Already in Russia, a tractor is produced that Germany can be proud of. 50% of its components are from Germany, 50% are from Russia, and a Russian bank finances the entire project. The more projects of this nature there are, the better, and the sooner we will achieve important success both for the Russian and for the German economy.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all the organisers of today’s meeting for the major preparation work. I can only imagine how much work, energy and talent were put in by everyone involved in organising this. I would like to thank them warmly for this, and wish all participants of the exhibition productive contacts, profitable business proposals and deals.
Thank you very much for your attention.