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Vladimir Putin stresses Asia as the key to Siberian progress

By The Siberian Times reporter
06 September 2012

The Russian president has emphasised the importance of the economically buoyant Asian-Pacific region as critical to the development of the country as Western markets stall.

Vladimir Putin has spoken about the importance of developing Siberia to Wall Street Journal Asia

In particular, Putin singled out the East as essential for growth in Siberia in the coming years. 

His comments came as he prepares to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit which is being held in Vladivostok to deliberately emphasise Russian connections to this vast and thriving market.

'Russia has long been an intrinsic part of the Asian-Pacific region. We view this dynamic region as the most important factor for the successful future of the whole country, as well as development of Siberia and the far east,' he wrote in an article for the Asian edition of The Wall Street Journal.

'We expect that the upcoming Vladivostok summit will once again demonstrate to the world that Russia is a nation of broad opportunities and ready to join forces with our neighbours to advance our common creative goals.'

The Kremlin leader called for an accent on growth from the 21-nation group that includes the powerhouse economies of the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Australia, South Korea as well as Russia  among its members. 

'Today, the key challenge for Russia and all the APEC economies is supporting sustainable growth rates,' he said.

Russky island

Bridge to Russky island, Vladivostok, Far East, has recently opened for traffic 

'The quality of growth matters, and that means putting emphasis on innovations and the development of human potential.

'I believe we must use all the advantages of partnership in these areas, remove barriers to the circulation of ideas, expertise and technologies, coordinate science policy, and jointly shape promising innovation markets.'

The summit - the first to be hosted by Russia - comes as many of the Western economies struggle for growth against the background of the Eurozone crisis. 

'APEC's experience is a good example of how integration contributes to economic development, giving a positive signal to businesses. We suggest that the dialogue in Vladivostok focus on freeing up trade and investment flows to stimulate economic growth, taking into account new realities such as Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation,' he said. 

Ahead of his address to the summit, he stressed: 'The very principle of free trade is undergoing a crisis. We regularly observe recurrences of protectionism and veiled trade wars instead of lifting barriers. In these circumstances, it is imperative that we develop common approaches to clearing the accumulated imbalances.

'We have made food security a particular priority for discussion at the summit, a proposal that the other participants supported. Instability in global food markets can lead to serious economic and social risks. We must jointly offer answers to this challenge.'

He also spoke of his hopes for the common market between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, and forecast a huge rise in transit traffic across Siberia as Russia offers new options to the world of moving goods between East and West. 

'The Customs Union and Common Economic Space agreements, which already have been implemented, as well as the prospective Eurasian Economic Union are all designed to improve efficiency among its members, and also to play an active part in shaping the regional and international agenda. By building it in accordance with WTO principles, we have prepared the way for new partners to cooperate with Belarus and Kazakhstan on the same terms and conditions.

'The initiative could play a significant role in global development and become a bridge between the European Union and the Asian-Pacific region. Closer integration of economic models, regulation and technical standards among the EU, APEC and the Eurasian Economic Union would offer businesses the ability to operate seamlessly across a vast area.

'This idea will take time to come to fruition, but we and our partners can bring it closer by discussing a 'transport profile' for such an integration project, aiming to build an efficient system for managing logistical risks and diversify trade routes. 

'In this regard, Russia has much to offer. We are already building modern ports in the Russian Far East, modernizing the transportation and shipment infrastructure, and improving national customs and administrative procedures.'

APEC Business Advisory Council assessments show 'the implementation of these projects will increase traffic flow between Europe and the Asian-Pacific region via Russia's territory no less than fivefold by 2020. 

'Such shipments are cost-competitive with the traditional routes through the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal, and offer advantages in terms of speed and safety.'

He also called for greater education co-operation across the APEC countries. 

'Special attention must certainly be given to education. Russia proposes organizing a network for university cooperation that would promote student and teacher exchanges and create environment for increased academic mobility. In our view, the time has already come to address the idea of forming a common educational space of the Asian-Pacific region.'

Comments (1)

Well said Mr Putin, now it would be interesting to see the steps Russia takes to make your vision real
Dan, Uk
06/09/2012 17:56
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