President Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr President!
Ladies and gentlemen!
This is the second meeting of the Russian-Indonesian business forum.
In effect, a tradition of regular meetings between entrepreneurs of both countries has become the order of the day. This tradition will enable us to significantly expand mutually beneficial business cooperation, especially in such fields as energy, the high tech industry, trade and, of course, investment. The stability and sustainability of economic growth in our countries will ensure that this takes place.
Russia’s economy is now in the top ten in the world. And, judged by a number of indicators, it is performing better than those of our partners. For the fifth straight year our GDP has grown rapidly. In the first seven months of 2007, the rate of growth was 7.9 percent.
It is the manufacturing sector, where the increase has been more than 12 percent, that is generating this growth. There has been positive momentum in agriculture. The volume of foreign trade and investment has increased. In the last year alone the inflow of foreign capital to Russia exceeded 50 billion dollars.
Russia is a reliable and stable financial partner. Since 2001, our economy has created a double surplus, in its budget and its balance of payments. In addition, Russia is now one of the three world leaders in terms of its gold reserves, which are worth more than 400 billion dollars. And all the leading international agencies have improved our rating to investment grade.
I think you know about the major national projects that we are implementing in education, health care, and in housing. By investing in human development, we are at the same time improving the demographic situation in the country in important ways.
In Russia public and corporate governance, and the tax administration are improving. Taking global trends into account, our economy is being efficiently integrated into the world economy. We are placing emphasis on increasing export capacities in industry, the diversification of energy supplies, and the development of international through traffic.
As a world leader in oil and gas, you know that Russia considers energy security to be one of the key themes in its foreign collaboration.
We are consistently implementing our agreements, including those with the G8, to ensure adequacy, accessibility and security of energy for all concerned. Suppliers, consumers and countries involved in transporting these resources all share this responsibility.
I would like to touch on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that opens the day after tomorrow in Sydney.
Given our economic and geopolitical realities, participation in APEC is crucial for Russia. It is well known that this summit is unique in terms of the economic muscle of its participants. They comprise 52% of world GDP, 48% of total world trade, 40% of foreign direct investment.
Stepping up APEC’s work is in our interest. We see this as an important area of Russia's foreign policy. And we are focusing on further improving the terms of trade in the region and on increasing regional integration.
This approach is naturally linked to our own domestic plans for the socio-economic development of Russia: in the first place, development programmes in the Far East, Siberia, and the Trans-Baikal, all directly involved in the Asia-Pacific region.
We hope that, by meeting in forums like this one, Russian and Indonesian businessmen can strengthen their commercial links. The work of the ASEAN-Russia Business Council, established by the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is linked to this, as is the Russian-Indonesian Joint Commission for Economic and Technical Cooperation.
I would note that in the past five years, Russian-Indonesian trade has grown threefold. In our view, this is a modest amount, but it is steadily increasing.
In 2007, the growth of trade continued: it is now 65% higher than it was during the same period in 2006.
However, we must recognise that the strength and comprehensiveness of bilateral trade and economic ties have lagged behind the momentum of our political dialogue. During today's talks, we discussed this subject and identified specific steps to be taken, including strengthening the legal framework of our economic cooperation.
We have great expectations for the development of investment cooperation. I strongly agree with you, Mr. President, that investment cooperation today is clearly insufficient. In this regard we think that the legal agreements signed today concerning the protection and promotion of investment will provide a major stimulus to mutual investment.
Indonesia is one of the world’s richest countries measured by natural resources. I know that President Yudhoyono is committed to the efficient exploitation of mineral deposits, as well as to optimising the use of the country’s natural resources. In this regard, you can certainly include Russia in the ranks of your prospective foreign partners.
I would point out that we have the necessary technical capabilities in the exploration and development of oil and gas fields, construction of pipelines, and infrastructure in the broadest sense of that word, as well as in projects to develop reserves of coal and bauxite.
The agreements reached today in these areas between the Russian companies LUKOIL, Rusal and their Indonesian counterparts constitute a significant example for the business communities of our countries.
Given Indonesia’s plans to build its first nuclear power plant on the island of Java in 2016, we could facilitate the effective implementation of the project. The necessary contractual basis already exists: in December 2006 in Moscow we signed a bilateral agreement on cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Russia is ready to offer Indonesia various kinds of civil and specialised aircraft technology. As you know, Russian amphibious aircraft, the Be-200, have already acquitted themselves admirably fighting forest fires on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan in 2006. We know that they have been in demand this year too.
One of the most promising areas of cooperation will be the Air Launch project, which involves the launch of telecommunications and various scientific satellites from the island of Biak. We have already enjoyed the positive experience of cooperation in outer space.
The most important area of cooperation is telecommunications in the broad sense of that word. Private companies in Russia have shown great interest in cooperating with their Indonesian counterparts here in Indonesia. No less important is our cooperation in the banking sector. We welcome and will support the concerted action of leading Russian and Indonesian banks.
And, finally, the development of an information system to serve the interests of our entrepreneurs will bring significant benefits. It will fill the commercial information gap arising from the geographical remoteness of both countries.
I believe that by working together and proceeding in stages we can make cutting edge advances in our economic cooperation in years to come. All the prerequisites are in place: the political will, the aspirations of businessmen, and our rich shared experience.
I am sure that the productive dialogue at today's forum constitutes a crucial and practical step along this path. I thank you for your attention and wish you success in your work.