Minister Elvira Nabiullina spoke at the II Russian-Norwegian Business Forum
On November 3, 2011, Minister Elvira Nabiullina spoke at the plenary session of the II Russian-Norwegian Business Forum.
Sergei Katyrin, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Viktor Zubkov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Trond Giske, Minister of Industry and Trade of Norway, representatives of business and experts of Russia and Norway participated in the Forum organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation and by the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce. The Forum was dedicated to prospects of more profound cooperation between Russia and Norway in different spheres.
Theses of the speech of Minister ElviraNabiullina
at the II Russian-Norwegian Business Forum,
Moscow, November 3, 2011
Trade and economic relations between Russia and Norway are based on long-standing traditions. Amid challenges which economies of many countries face at the moment we believe it is necessary to keep the atmosphere of constructive cooperation between our countries to solve new developmental tasks.
The challenges are of different nature. But all of them contribute to the uncertainty of the economic situation.
Carrying out economic policy we proceed from the fact that the most probable scenario of the world economic development is the scenario of a rather long-term period of lower growth rates – lower than those before the crisis of 2008.
What is the Russia’s response to this situation?
First of all, it is a balanced budget policy.
In the second place, we are consistent in pursuing the policy of economic integration.
In the third place, it is the modernization of Russian economy.
And in the fourth place, we take measures to improve the business environment.
Now I would like to dwell on each of the mentioned points.
First of all – macroeconomic and budget stability.
In context of the world economic instability, Russia has rather a good position: relatively low government debt – about 10% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). We still have significant gold and foreign currency reserves of more than 500 billion dollars and high current account surplus. Our stock market is not overheated.
Next. Economic integration is our key priority.
In summer 2011 the formation of the common customs territory of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus was completed. And recently several CIS countries signed the free trade area agreement. From January 1, 2012 the Common Economic Space mechanisms will come into operation.
The work related to the accession of Russia to WTO (World Trade Organization) is at the end. We are conducting negotiations connected with conclusion of free trade agreements with EFTA (European Free Trade Association).
Third. Out task is to pass from the primarily commodity-based growth model to innovation one based on modernization of economy, increase in labour productivity, creation of new products and markets.
We have the following priorities in modernization: medicine and pharmaceutics, nuclear power engineering, energy efficiency, information and telecommunication technologies, space.
We are active in development of these areas. Public expenses in these areas constantly grow. In 2012 more than 5 billion US dollars will be allocated for space and telecommunication only, and more than 1 trillion roubles (more than 30 billion dollars) will be distributed for modernization in the years coming.
But our interests are not limited by these priorities. Competitive ability of the modern economy is stipulated by the level of technological development of all industries. Therefore, we would like to shape all Russian economy in a qualitatively different, based on technical development, manner.
We believe that the development potential of cooperation in this area is very high for our countries, and this is reflected in the Russian-Norwegian declaration on partnership for modernization.
And we do have the basis for development of such cooperation: more than 120 Norwegian companies are present in Russia. Their contribution is especially significant and notable in economies of Northern and Northern-Western regions of Russia – Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Leningrad Oblast, and Saint-Petersburg as well.
We would like to expand their presence in the Russian economy. We think that there are fundamental attraction factors: natural resources, qualified and relatively cheap labour force, huge potential product market, which includes, besides Russia proper, the Customs Union countries. We also consistently create conditions for business environment improvement.
The government of the Russian Federation has adopted measures aimed at reduction of administrative obstacles, granting tax exemptions, facilitating access to infrastructure, optimization of migration legislation.
In order to create a systematic approach in work with foreign investors, a mechanism of efficient consideration of their problems was created, which includes, in particular, such elements as ombudsman institution for foreign investments represented by Igor Shuvalov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
In order to facilitate staffing support we introduced the term “Highly Qualified Specialist”, providing for a simplified procedure of their intake from abroad.
We simplify construction procedures and abolish infrastructure limits.
We established the Foreign Direct Investments Fund to reduce risks of foreign investors. Ten billion dollars will be distributed from the federal budget within 5 years. It has already started functioning and is aimed at co-financing of modernization projects where the state shares risks with private investors.
We established 24 special economic zones of 4 types: industrial, technological and innovative, tourist and recreational, and port ones.
As a result this year, according to the World Bank, Russia became a part of TOP-25 of the world leading countries in terms of carried out reforms aimed at improvement of conditions for conducting business.
We also take steps for direct assistance to innovative activity of enterprises and companies.
Special developmental institutions were created: Rusnano, Development Assistance Fund for Small Enterprises in Scientific and Technical Area, Russian Venture Company, Russian Fund for Technical Development.
I would also like to mark out the most known innovative project – the centre in Skolkovo. It embraces (and the list is not comprehensive yet) leading Russian and foreign companies working in area of high technologies development.
In order to create additional stimuli for increase of new high-technology products output, we modify the government procurement system.
All leading companies with state participation work on programs of innovative development, which allow ensuring an increase in demand for results of research and products of Russian scientist and educational institutions, small and medium enterprises. In the nearest three years Russian power, oil- and gas producing enterprises will allocate in total 8.5 trillion roubles (280 billion dollars) for their own development, including 3.2 trillion roubles (110 billion US dollars) for modern equipment.
We develop the innovative infrastructure of university science, create national research centres (first of them was Kurchatov Institute). In the nearest three years we are going to distribute about 30 billion roubles (1 billion dollars) for joint work of the leading universities and industrial companies in research sphere.
We created a special communication tool to create promising commercial technologies, new products (services). All interested parties participate therein: business, science, state. These are technology platforms. At the moment there are 28 such platforms in total, they cover all principal directions of modernization: from medicine to composite materials and technologies.
One of the most crucial directions of activity of the government of the Russian Federation is creation of conditions for energy efficiency increase. Pilot project in 14 regions allow saving 25-40% of heat and 15-40% of electric power. All regions already have energy efficiency programs. We would like to see Norwegian companies among our partners in this area.
Being a large supplier of hydrocarbon to Europe, Norway has one of the most developed (from technological point of view) oil and gas complexes in the world, and Statoil, the leading Norwegian company, is a recognized technological leader in area of production and transportation of hydrocarbons. Especially this is applied to offshore fields exploitation.
Russia has plans in respect of hydrocarbon material production at its continental shelf; therefore we would be interested in Norwegian experience of development and creation of the relevant technologies.
Aquaculture – fish farming industry – is well developed in Norway. On the contrary, the development of this area has just started in Russia. Agriculture, including improvement of its technological level, is a priority of our economic policy.
Taking into consideration the potential of Russian market (as well as potential of the markets of the Customs Union countries), where the growth in consumption of the agricultural sector products in the coming 5 years is estimated as 25-30%, we would like to see at the market companies from Norway acting as producers and investors.
We are interested in development of transportation networks. And one of the priorities of the Transportation Strategy of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030 is development of the Northern Sea Route. We are interested in experience of Norwegian companies in ship building and shipboard equipment for this region. To develop this direction we created a special economic zone in Murmansk.
More work is waiting ahead. I hope that discussion within the framework of the today’s Forum, exchange of opinions in different areas of Russian-Norwegian cooperation will favour the preparation and implementation of new interesting and mutually beneficial joint projects.