At the meeting participants discussed issues of trade and investment liberalisation, regional integration, as well as improving transport and logistics systems and infrastructure.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
At the beginning of our meeting I would like to welcome all of you in Russia, in Vladivostok.
On the onset of a meeting I would like to say that one of our colleagues, Australian Prime Minister had very unfortunate tragedy in her family – her father passed away. So I would like on behalf of all of us to express our condolences to her and members of her family, and welcome Australian Minister of Trade who will be heading Australian delegation at the meeting.
Once again I want to welcome all of you in Vladivostok, the city that for over 150 years has been a stronghold of Russia here in the Far East. Vladivostok is a modern, fast-growing city, true megapolis, which has huge business and financial potential, a place where East meets West, gateway of Russia to the vast areas of Pacific and Southeast Asia, a gateway that is open for all of you, our partners in Asia-Pacific region, and that provides rapid and most efficient route to Europe from this region.
”The 20th anniversary APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting is taking place on the new premises of the Far East Federal University. We built the complex, the university campus that immediately after our Leaders’ Meeting adjourns will be handed over to the university, young people, students and academia. I hope that this university will become an educational and intellectual center not only attractive for the Far East of Russia, but for young people, scholars and researchers of the world.“
Colleagues, the 20th anniversary APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting is taking place on the new premises of the Far East Federal University. And it gives me great pleasure that some of the colleagues mentioned specifically that they liked the venue. I have to mention that when we were thinking where to organize this big event, we decided to host it here, in Vladivostok to use it as an opportunity to develop Vladivostok.
We built the complex, the university campus that immediately after our Leaders’ Meeting adjourns will be handed over to the university, young people, students and academia. I hope that this university will become an educational and intellectual center not only attractive for the Far East of Russia, but for young people, scholars and researchers of the world.
I would like to use the occasion to invite your students and researchers to come here to study, to teach and I would like to make a suggestion to all of you present here. We will send an official invitation to all of you to speak in front of the students, of this university and talk to them about your vision of the future of the region, of the world in general, to address students as professors, as keynote speakers. I am sure you will find that interesting, and young people that are to study here will definitely greatly appreciate the opportunity.
Today’s plenary meeting has two items on its agenda. First is trade and investment liberalization and regional economic integration. Second is improving transport and logistics systems and infrastructure of the region. Tomorrow we are going to talk about food security and promoting innovative growth.
Let me start by saying a few words on the first point of our agenda – trade and investment liberalisation and regional economic integration.
This topic is of great relevance for us especially in the difficult economic situation today when the recovery of global economy is faltering. We can only overcome negative trends by expanding trade, services, enhancing flow of capital. It is important to follow fundamental principles of open markets and free trade.
Russia, as you know, has become a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organisation, so I would like to thank all of you colleagues for your unwavering support to Russia’s efforts of joining this international economic organisation.
Jointly with you, we are determined to make our contribution to designing more liberal rules and mechanisms of trade at the global and regional levels including in the APEC space. The priority goal is to jointly fight all forms of protectionism – both traditional and new.
Russia suggested to introduce monitoring of environmental policy measures, come up with coordinated principles of regulation in this field. Implementing our arrangements to reduce tariff rates for environmentally-friendly goods was not easy. In line with the APEC summit’s decision made in Honolulu in 2011, they should be reduced to 5% or less by 2015. We have achieved substantial progress in drafting the list of such goods.
What is important is that APEC members are determined to continue moving towards the formulated goal in the spirit of the APEC fundamental consensus principle. I believe we should thank our experts that worked very hard preparing today’s meeting and as result of this work worked out balanced compromises. I guess, we can say that our meeting will bring results due to these arrangements.
Strengthening transparency of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements will facilitate liberalisation. At our initiative, a model chapter on transparency was drafted to be included in this kind of agreements and it makes it mandatory to disclose substantial information on all preferential arrangements.
”By getting together and lifting barriers we encourage dynamic development of entire Asia-Pacific region and global economy in general.“
It is important to give special attention to investment liberalisation, improve business environment in the region. In our view, improvement of national dispute resolution mechanisms, especially at pre-trial stage, would serve that purpose. We should promote such mechanisms throughout entire APEC.
Let me say a few words about regional integration. I am sure it holds the future especially now when for many years we have seen WTO’s Doha Round of trade negotiations slippage. By getting together and lifting barriers we encourage dynamic development of entire Asia-Pacific region and global economy in general.
It is important to build bridges, not walls. We should continue striving toward greater integration, broaden dialogue between regional and sub-regional associations. It is in that direction that Russia will be moving and is already moving. This is precisely what we do in the former Soviet Union space.
You have certainly heard about our integration efforts. I am referring to the free trade zone within the CIS, the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. I suggest we exchange views on how we could encourage liberalisation of trade and investment in a more efficient way and take full advantage of regional integration.