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Minister A.R.Belousov to Hold a Press-Briefing within the Framework of the APEC Leaders’ Week in Vladivostok

04.09.12

Points of Minister A.R.Belousov’s speech at the briefing,

Vladivostok, September 4, 2012.

 

The first priority stated and being implemented within Russia’s chairmanship at the APEC forum is, primarily, ensuring liberalization of trade and investment cooperation. We believe that in this respect we have a number of achievements. These achievements deal with establishment of transparency or new transparency conditions in agreements on free trade zones. For us creation of free trade zones with a number of economies is now the nearest prospect. We are currently entering home straight in rather successful negotiations with New Zealand on a free economic trade zone creation. The economies having expressed their volition to conclude a free trade zone agreement with Russia number more than 30. That is why for us it is essential which conditions agreements will be shaped and implemented on. In this respect the transparency condition is one of the key matters. This is a condition for disclosure of information on trade supplies, mutual trade, investment rules etc. This is one of the points where advancement has been secured. We suppose that all the aforesaid will be documentarily recorded within the framework of the meeting of the APEC economies’ heads.

The second is the agreement on environmental commodities i.e. commodities trade or import duty whereon is to be reduced down to 5% or even lower by 2015. This aspect has not been fully agreed upon yet but we will work on it within the framework of the summit. Now I would rather not mention specific parameters of the list, especially taking into account certain disagreements still existing, but we expect the list to include some dozens of commodity items.

The third priority (its role is currently impetuously increasing in light of the global economy recent developments) is related to food security strengthening. Its role increase is due to another draught the world has suffered this year and has already manifested itself in growth in prices for grain, in the Russian market in particular. Nevertheless, we believe that certain progress has been achieved in this respect.

But what do we suggest concentrating on? First of all, on liberalization of opportunities for investment into agriculture. We are for the opinion that it is the main prerequisite, and that openness of the agricultural and agroindustrial sectors of the APEC economies, primarily – to direct investments inclusive of those from abroad, is the core factor that will enable solution or at least mitigation of the problem of food insufficiency and expensiveness in different regions of the world.

The second issue, representing an equally complicated topic, is that related to grain export liberalization. It is clear that, as soon as grain deficit occurs in the market, each country strives to take protectionist measures, primarily – to restrict its national market. Russia is no exception in this respect, we also used to protect our market at times of severe crop failure but we ought to understand that such a solution is exceptional, and the rarer it is resorted to the better. The primary track and the main vector must be aimed at reduction and elimination of protectionist barriers in the field of food trade.

There is a third priority also of key importance for us, with regard whereto some advancement has also been achieved. This is formation of transport and logistics chains. Russia has the certain and doubtless systemic advantage of being located between he European and the Asian Pacific development centres. The advantage remains underused as yet. Thus, it is no coincidence that we, together with our colleagues, have spent the year elaborating various mechanisms that could enable utilization of the transport corridors and the transport capabilities Russia avails of for the benefit of all the economies, both European and those of the Asian Pacific region. Surely, development of these transport corridors and provision for security of cargo transportation (among other things – deployment of GLONASS system and satellite fleet) will open new opportunities for that.

Finally, the fourth priority, having also witnessed significant progress, lies in the field of innovative development. All the economies or, to be more exact, most of the developed APEC economies, enjoy essential advantages, notably – in totally diverse innovation-related spheres. And all the APEC members are surely (an expressly) interested in switchover to an innovative development way.

In this aspect, all our actions are associated with creation of a network of constantly active channels for interaction between different centres of innovative development within different economies. This means, first of all, interaction between educational and research centres and corporations representing different economies in the field of innovative development. Formulation of suggestions on such network and analysis of its development opportunities was, in fact, the main subject of work in the area during the year. Here, again, positive results have been achieved.

These are the four main points. Besides, there are (as I call them) issues of permanent relevance, those related to the situation with WTO (which we joined not long ago, literally - the other day), the Doha round situation causing rather much concern for us and other APEC economies. But I would say that the issue, important as it is, currently fails to belong to our stated priorities towards which we are heading. Nevertheless, in this respect we also make our attitude audible for further elaboration within the framework of the summit events.

Concerning the Doha round, one can note no essential improvement having taken place since the latest meeting of ministers of trade in Kazan. In the Doha round there are rather deep contradictions in place between developed and developing economies that have not been resolved yet. Those contradictions are actually not of subjective character, fairly serious objective grounds underlying them which are related primarily to a strong differentiation in economic development of countries. To our mind, the key to smoothing away the contradictions may lie in creation of conditions for accelerated development of the most backward economies representing the most vulnerable points of the global system of economy and trade rather than in a series of negotiations.

However, I would like to emphasize the fact universally understood: nowadays, there is no alternative to WTO; that is why everyone is aware that the progress achieved at the Doha forum would be for the benefit of the whole community, of all the economies.

 

News agencies’ notices following the outcome of the briefing by Minister A.R.Belousov,

Vladivostok, September 4, 2012.

 

Head of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation to deem the probability of a second crisis wave onset minimal

VLADIVOSTOK, September 4/ITAR-TASS special correspondent Anastasia Savinykh/.The probability of a second crisis wave onset is minimal. This is what Minister of Economic Development of Russia Andrey Belousov communicated to the pressmen on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

"On the whole, I believe that the probability of a second crisis wave onset is minimal,” said the head of the Ministry. He attracted attention to the fact that the situation in the USA is currently stable enough. The same is true with Chine though the Ministry of Economic Development forecasts the possibility of some retardation of the rate of economic growth in this country. According to Belousov, the economic development dynamics remains at an 8% level.

“The current retardation of rates in Europe affecting many European countries is mostly the result of economic policy. Those are perfectly conscious actions, and outcomes of the budget consolidation", noted the Minister. “This is a recession, not a crisis as we understand it and as we saw it in 2008-2009," Belousov said. “The current situation in the European and global economy is dramatically different from the way it was in 2008”. The Minister expressed his hope that, unless grave mistakes are committed resulting in collapse of some giant power, there are no grounds to expect occurrence of a crisis similar to that of 2008-2009.

 

Russian Federation budget deficit may make 0.5% of GDP in 2012: head of the Ministry of Economic Development

VLADIVOSTOK, September 4 - PRIME. The head of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia Andrey Belousov expects the budget deficit in the current year to make no more than 0.5% of GDP provided the oil prices remain at the USD 115 per barrel.

When asked by the pressmen about this year’s likely budget deficit level, he replied, “[The budget may turn – edit.] virtually zero deficit, the likely deficit being but very insignificant – no more than 0.5%".

According to the Minister, everything will depend on oil prices. The said deficit value is subject to their remaining at the current level of USD 115 per barrel.

Previously, the head of the Ministry of Finance Anton Siluanov had communicated that the Russian Federation budget deficit in 2012 may reach the initially forecasted 1.5% GDP level if the average annual oil price drops below USD100 per barrel. In late august the Ministry of Economic Development downscaled the current year forecast annual oil price from USD 115 to USD 109 per barrel.

According to the latest amendments to the federal budget adopted in May, when the 2012 forecast oil price was upscaled to USD 115, the approved deficit level is a 0.1% GDP, the total amounts of incomes and expenses respectively equal to 12.677 trn RUB and 12.745 trn RUB.

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