Topic: APEC Summit in Vladivostok
MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti)
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President Vladimir Putin has stressed the importance of the Asia-Pacific region for Russia’s development ahead of an APEC summit to take place in the country’s Far East port of Vladivostok.
“Russia has long been an intrinsic part of the Asian-Pacific region,” Putin wrote in an article for the Wall Street Journal Asia. “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.”
Russia hosts the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on September 5-9.
And Putin highlighted Russia’s investment in its Far East in his “Vladivostok 2012: Russian agenda for the APEC Forum” article.
“We are already building modern ports in the Russian Far East, modernizing the transportation and shipment infrastructure, and improving national customs and administrative procedures,” he wrote.
“According to assessments by experts of the APEC Business Advisory Council, 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,” he added.
The Kremlin has invested $21 billion in preparing Vladivostok for the summit, which Putin will address later this week. U.S. President Barack Obama will not attend, however, and the United States will be represented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Analysts expect Putin to use the summit to bolster Russia’s standing in the region in the face of the U.S. Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership plan, a Pacific-area free trade arrangement. Washington has proposed a number of Asian countries sign up to the plan, but neither Russia nor China have received invitations.
“The key challenge for Russia and all the APEC economies is supporting sustainable growth rates. The quality of growth matters, and that means putting emphasis on innovations and the development of human potential,” Putin wrote. “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.
Putin also focused on Russia’s recent membership of the World Trade Organization and its implications for the country’s role in the Asia Pacific region.
“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 Organization,” Putin wrote.
“Membership in the WTO gives us the ability to participate more broadly in setting the global trade rules—an issue that has been a focus of attention for APEC in the past,” he added.
“I am confident that Russia’s fresh outlook on the objective difficulties and internal contradictions of the WTO will be useful. 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.”
Putin also suggested the common market between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan could help to expand cooperation.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
Putin also said food security will be a priority for discussion at the summit. “Instability in global food markets can lead to serious economic and social risks. We must jointly offer answers to this challenge,” he wrote.
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