Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Opening Statement by S.V. Lavrov at Meeting of Business Council under Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on Participation of Russian Business Community in Ensuring Russia’s Chairmanship at APEC Forum in 2012, Moscow, 29 February 2012
I would like to greet the participants of the Business Council meeting, representatives of ministries, departments, business community, and all guests.
The subject of today's meeting is entirely of the applied nature. Participation of the Russian business community in ensuring Russia's chairmanship at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in 2012 emphasizes the necessity of joint efforts of the state and national business. This step will contribute to the more efficient promotion of the Russian interests in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), more favourable use of the available capabilities for solving the problems of Siberia and Far East region development, including implementation of mutually advantageous business projects both in the Russian territory and abroad.
Extension of Russian economic presence in APR is a priority for us. Special place in such effort is given to participation in APEC, the most meaningful regional integration mechanism. It is its framework in which the rules for trade and investment interaction are developed, various models of the regional free trade area are tested, for instance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative of the USA and various arrangements on trade liberalization promoted by ASEAN.
Accession of Russia to WTO allows more efficient participation in the processes of developing the parameters of the new integration architecture in APR. APEC being orientated on the state and private partnership opens good opportunities for finding the optimal procedures in this direction taking into account both our interests and capabilities.
The priorities approved by the President for Russia's chairmanship in APEC in 2012 include liberalization of trade and investments, strengthening of the regional economic integration, guarantee of food safety, improvement of reliable transport and logistics systems, and active interaction aimed at innovation growth. We have specific initiatives for these directions, including the proposals which involve science-intensive and technology intensive areas.
This year, the first arrangements under the chairmanship of Russia have already been performed; during the period, we made our proposals on the implementation of the innovative agricultural technologies, creation of emergency response centres in the region and trans-border educational area. Several dozens of such arrangements are planned to be effected prior to the summit of heads of states in Vladivostok this September. We expect to promote these and other initiatives under active participation and support of the Russian business community.
I will repeat: a great deal is being done. We are taking steps for substantial filling the Russian chairmanship in close contact with the Russian members of APEC Business Advisory Council; we develop cooperation with APEC Russian Research Centre and APEC National Business Centre (NBC). I think we share the common interests by making the leading associations of local entrepreneurs – the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Business Russia and Support of Russia all-Russian non-governmental organizations – involved into such cooperation as much as possible.
At the moment, the Russian business community is a coordinator under APEC Business Advisory Council. We assume that NBC will fully participate in all processes specified in APEC rules, including the main task – preparation and holding of the Business Summit as part of the Leaders Week in Vladivostok. This will require both informative as well as organizational logistics and financial support.
Based on the results of the effected arrangements within the limits of the current chairmanship functions of Russia in APEC, we expect that today's discussion will be focused on the issues of strengthening of practical interaction between the federal executive authorities and the business community to ensure the maximum efficiency of the Russian chairmanship.
I would like to thank you for your time and start the discussion.