Alexey Likhachev: We should seek and implement new methods and ways for ASEAN – Russia cooperation


Ladies and gentlemen, your excellencies, honorable guests, colleagues!

I’m glad to welcome you in the fantastic city of Sochi! It is my great pleasure to open the first session of the ASEAN – Russia Business Forum! This year is significant for ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership. We celebrate 20 years of our cooperation and hold the Jubilee ASEAN-Russia Summit.

It’s a pleasure for me to see here representative delegations from ASEAN member-states and many entrepreneurs from Russia. Such a great interest shows that both ASEAN and Russian business circles are ready to develop closer cooperation and increase trade turnover of goods and services. It also demonstrates our readiness to start and implement joint investment projects.

The next two days will be rather busy. Today we work in business format. Tomorrow on 20th May the main events of the ASEAN-Russia Summit will be held. Our leaders will have a meeting with business representatives and take part in the plenary session. Then they will have a working lunch with the representatives of Eurasian Economic Commission and Shanghai Cooperation Organization in outreach format.

We also organize for our leaders working breakfast where they will discuss prospects for conjunction of integration processes in Eurasia.

Today our work starts and we have 3 sessions simultaneously. Our colleagues next door will discuss ways to expand the involvement of Russian businesses in major infrastructure projects in the ASEAN region. The other session is focused on deeper cooperation in media and mass communications sectors, IT and e-government spheres.

After business lunch we will continue our work at the plenary session. Its main topics are the following: characteristics of integration processes in the Asia-Pacific region and possible interaction between the Eurasian Economic Union, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN.

At the end of today’s program are the working meetings within bilateral business councils.

I’d like to note that the recent years were not easy for the Russian economy. We consider that now the peak of the crisis is over. Our economy has proved its high adaptability and sustainability under serious global risks. The decrease in GDP (- 3,7 %) was less significant than most Russian and foreign experts anticipated. Our economy is in the phase of dynamic recovery. In 2017 we are expecting growth in GDP. International monetary fund forecasts increase by 0,8%.

Russian business and governmental authorities have adapted to the new environment. Over the last 5 years we keep observing Russia’s positive dynamics in the World Bank Doing Business ranking. In 2015 our country rose by another 11 positions and became 51st among 189 countries. I noticed that some ASEAN member-states (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand) are placed at higher positions in the ranking. It means that we have a good examples to learn from.

We continue to support Russian export. The newly established Russian Export Center is functioning as a “single window” mechanism and provides exporters with a range of support tools.

We are open for our foreign partners and willing to participate in integration processes. Russia together with Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are developing a Eurasian Economic Union which can be considered as a good example of successful integration.

We have already started developing cooperation with our partners in Southeastern Asia on the basis of preferential trade agreements.

In May 2015 the Eurasian Economic Union signed the Free Trade Agreement with Viet Nam.

Last February Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed by12 countries of the region. I’d like to congratulate our ASEAN partners with the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community.

All these processes create a new environment for doing business in the region. Therefore the main goal of our session is to determine how government could support businesses in a changing geopolitical environment and what kind of modern instruments could be useful for boosting business cooperation.

I’d like to remind you that the results of the discussions will be reflected in the Declaration of ASEAN-Russia Business Forum and will be presented to the Leaders. We’ve already prepared the preliminary draft of the recommendations to be included in the Declaration. I propose you to study this document thoroughly. If someone has any comments, amendments, additions please don’t hesitate to inform us.

Now let me introduce my co-moderator - Mr. Rosan Roeslani, Chairman of Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and give him the floor for his opening remarks. Mr. Roeslani, the floor is yours!