President Vladimir Putin: Mr Chairman, allow me to wish you a warm welcome.
It is very pleasing for me that you and your colleagues decided to hold a meeting of the Daimler-Chrysler board of management in Moscow. I have already had the pleasure of meeting one of your colleagues today, a member of the board of management, former U.S. President Mr. Bush.
I hope that your work here will be held at the necessary level, and it is very pleasing for me to note that you are examining the possibility of expanding your activity in the Russian Federation.
I hope that these talks are at a sufficiently advanced stage. On our part, as far as I know, the Russian Government has quite a harsh but consistent position and creates favourable conditions for you to expand your activity, including your production activity in Russia. This above all concerns the special order for importing components and parts. There are agreements on expanding production within Russia. I talked about this in considerable detail with the Federal Chancellor when I was last in Germany. And I am very happy that these talks are moving ahead and reaching completion.
Jurgen Schremp: Mr. President, first of all allow me with all my heart to thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with you today, and for the support that we received at a meeting of the International Advice Board in Moscow. Of course, we talked about many topics which are important for the world today, but of course we also talked about Russia. And if I ever had any doubts, which I did not, about the process of development in Russia, they would have vanished after this meeting. By the way, it is not just two high-ranking Russian politicians, but also economists who predict successful development for Russia.
Half an hour ago I talked to Federal Chancellor Schroeder. He asked me to pass on the very best wishes and greetings to you.
As for the project, everything here is quite simple. I think that all the existing issues have been clarified. As for the system that you talked about concerning customs duties on import of components over eight years, I think that everything will be fine with this as well.
I hope that the first Mercedes will come off the production line in autumn. Permission for investment of such a scale is in the competence of the board of management, and this remains to be done, but after a series of confidential talks, I think that this permission will be given. And it is very fortunate that this project is being realised in St. Petersburg.
Mr Putin: It is your decision.
Mr Schremp: Yes, it is our decision. But I think that it is a fortunate decision.
Mr Putin: I agree.