Top executives of over 40 corporations from Europe, the US, Canada, China and other Asian countries attended the meeting.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, colleagues, friends. Let me welcome you once again.
At a plenary session today, we talked about specific areas of Russian economic development, about the principles our country intends to build its relations on with our partners within integration associations, in trade, in mutual investment and project development. I expect that our meeting will become a natural extension of the work of the entire forum.
I see a lot of our long-time economic partners here, our friends from different countries, and also the heads of companies that are showing interest in the Russian market for the first time.
We appreciate the pragmatic and constructive approach of business. Despite the current political environment, many have come, and I would like to say that nearly 13,000 (12,700) companies from Europe alone continue to work in Russia.
Importantly, businesspeople seem keen to return to a positive agenda in relations between Russia and our Western partners. I want to say this again: we see cooperation as a crucial development factor both for the Russian and global economies, and we are open for partnership, both on traditional and new markets where Russia has serious technological and research achievements that could become the basis for products on a global level.
Of course, we welcome any proactive foreign business participation in import replacement programmes here in Russia, in projects involving local manufacturing. These programmes seek to develop national enterprises capable of manufacturing high quality products and increasing non-mineral exports. Moreover, the current ruble rate and the economic situation make Russian exports quite profitable.
We offer comfortable conditions, a good choice of investment instruments with long-term guarantees and preferential treatment. We offer special investment contracts, special tax regime for starting projects – the so-called greenfields – and in the Far East we offer priority development areas and a free port regime.
We will definitely persevere with creating a favourable business environment in the Russian economy. We have already made substantial progress here. We are determined to keep further improving state management, customs, tax and administrative legislation and technical regulations. We are working in close contact with business, responding to its requests.
Colleagues, I met with heads of major investment funds yesterday, some of them are present here today. Describing the present state of affairs, I said yesterday and would like to repeat it now: I very much hope that people like me will not interfere with the work of people like you. Our hopes are with you.