Vladimir Putin: At present there are 135 cars per 10,000 citizens in Russia. That is three or four times less than in other industrialised countries. I must note that this is a sphere where social and economic issues, the issues of infrastructure and finances are intertwined.
Of course, we should expect an increased demand for cars and accordingly the market must be expanded. But we would like that market to be of high quality and affordable for the broad social strata. These prospects, which are realistic, compel us to take a hard look at the potential of the government to promote the development of the automobile market in the country. The overarching task is to make sure that every citizen has a chance to use above all domestically made cars at an affordable price. This meeting is to make an objective assessment of the situation in the automotive industry and define clearly who can realistically change it for the better. Of course, we cannot tolerate a situation when cars of yesterday are produced. Unlike in some other sectors of the economy, we frequently encounter this situation.
For decades the government has funnelled huge material resources into the automotive industry. And of course the government cannot afford to stand aside from what is happening in the industry. Everything must be done on a modern economic basis with the use of modern economic instruments. That means above all the tax policy. The Government has recently given clear signals in this sphere, has initiated a number of laws and pending before the State Duma is a series of other draft laws which would ease the tax burden on the economy as a whole and on this sector in particular. Secondly, we have been taking and will continue to take measures to protect the internal market. It involves many problems but without any doubt closing our market is not an option, otherwise we won’t be able to meet the interests of our citizens who want the opportunity to buy high quality and inexpensive imported cars. We have no right to deny them that opportunity. Our decisions in this sphere must be balanced and that of course implies ensuring fair and honest competition.
I repeat, all the problems of our current life and economic future are intertwined in this sphere more than in any other. And it is directly relevant to the interests of many of our citizens. I suggest that we consider the problems accumulated in this sector on such a comprehensive basis.