Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref on the results of talks on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and on the outcome of a visit to China
German Gref: We have completed negotiations with the United States on all questions of principle. All that remains now is to settle technical issues and prepare all the documents for signature. The agreement is very large, more than 200 pages. We are currently in the process of making the technical adjustments and organising the internal state procedures. In particular, we need to pass a whole number of government resolutions. You set the objective of completing all the negotiations before your meeting with President Bush in Hanoi in order to sign the agreement there, and we have every hope of having the documents ready and completing the technical work by then. We will do everything we can to ensure that the agreement is ready for signature during your meeting with President Bush.
Together with Mikhail Yefimovich [Prime Minister Fradkov] and Alexander Dmitriyevich [Deputy Prime Minister Zhukov], we held two important events in Beijing. One was the Russian National Exhibition, in which more than 700 Russian companies and 46 Russian regions took part. We and all the participants share the view that the event was very useful and effective. This was the first time such an industrial exhibition was held in China over the last decade in relations between our two countries. All of our companies interested in entering the Chinese market were represented, and we presented for the first time Russian goods that we will export to China as part of our policy of diversifying Russia’s raw material exports.
The other event was the third Russian-Chinese Investment Forum, in which Alexander Zhukov and the Chinese Vice Premier took part, and this event saw the signing of protocols of intention on investment by Russian companies in China and vice versa for a total of around $1.5 billion. This was the third such forum and practice shows that it is a much-needed event. You made the decision to create this forum and make it an annual event three years ago. Now we see that it is expanding all the time, that an increasing number of companies are taking part and that there is real demand for it.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on preparations for the G20 meeting of finance ministers
Alexei Kudrin: The G20 will hold its meeting this week. This group was established following the 1997 Asian financial crisis to discuss the prevention of new crises and shocks in the world financial system.
The meeting will take place in Melbourne, Australia. The issues we will be looking at are the same as those Russia made the main themes of its presidency of the G8. Among the main issues on the meeting’s agenda will be energy security and the imbalances that have built up, that is, the large gold and currency reserves a number of countries have accumulated as a result of high oil prices, and how to make use of these resources without creating distortions in the world financial system, and how to prevent financial crises from arising. We will also be discussing the initiative on quality and effective management of state finances that Russia put forward during the meeting of G8 finance ministers in St Petersburg. The G20 finance ministers will examine the package of proposals that the G8 finance ministers examined in St Petersburg earlier this year. In other words, we have fully coordinated our work with the organisers of the G20 finance ministers’ meeting to support the initiatives put forward at the G8 meeting.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on preparations for Russia’s participation in the APEC summit
Sergei Lavrov: The summit will take place on November 18–19 in Hanoi. In the run up to the summit there will be preparatory ministerial meetings, in which Foreign Ministry and Economic Development and Trade Ministry officials will take part. Work is underway on the final documents, which will concern political problems in the region, including crises and conflicts, and integration processes.
Work is underway on a separate document that analyses the situation in the World Trade Organisation in the context of the obstacles the Doha round of trade negotiations has run up against. And as well, the APEC summit, of course, is traditionally a good forum for bilateral contacts. Together with German Oskarovich [Gref], we are preparing documents for your meeting with President Bush. We are also preparing for the meetings planned with the Chinese President, the new Japanese Prime Minister and a number of leaders from ASEAN and Latin American countries. This will all be followed by your visit to Vietnam. A solid package of agreements is taking shape for this visit – agreements that will intensify our political contacts and develop our trade and economic cooperation.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov on the implementation of a programme to create a global space navigation system, GLONASS
Sergei Ivanov: The project to create a global satellite navigation system is now ready as a comprehensive whole. We have presented and defended the project at the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, and I must say that German Oskarovich [Gref] was active in helping us with this work. The project was then examined by the Military-Industrial Commission, and then Mikhail Yefimovich [Fradkov] approved and issued a resolution adjusting the GLONASS federal targeted programme at a government meeting.
To remind you of the timetable, under the new timetable, we will have complete coverage of the entire Russian Federation by the end of 2007. This will require 18 satellites in orbit, and by the end of 2009, we will have global coverage, and this will require 24 satellites. In other words, we still need to launch four to cover our own territory and another ten to ensure global coverage.
Yury Matevich Urlichich has been appointed chief designer for the whole GLONASS system. This appointment was personally approved by the Military-Industrial Commission. He will be responsible not only for the satellites in orbit, but also for the entire ground infrastructure, the ground-based equipment. There are three main agencies involved in the ground-based component of the system: Rosprom, the Transport Ministry, and the national cartography agency. These are the three agencies chiefly responsible for the ground-based equipment.
General Staff will abolish all restrictions on precise resolution of coordinates by January 1, 2007, in order to ensure that the system works in the interests of economic and transport development in our country.