+++ 1. September 2012 +++
Russian Government Counting on Surge of Trade with APEC Countries
Official events of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Week will begin Sept. 2 Pacific in Russia's Far East port city of Vladivostok and lead to a summit bringing together heads of state from all around the Pacific Rim on Sept. 7-8. Barack Obama, however, turned down the invitation, and will send Secretary of State Clinton instead.
The Russian perspective for the meeting was laid out by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov in an Aug. 28 press conference: a big surge in trade with the Asia-Pacific region. "Our trade potential with these countries is underdeveloped, we're barely using a quarter of it," he said, and the aim is to have them account for at least 50% of Russia's foreign trade.
Woven throughout Shuvalov's statement was the growing concern of Russian leaders, which President Vladimir Putin has also voiced, that the economy is being very hard hit by crisis in the Eurozone. Indeed, 50% of Russian foreign trade is with Europe and the majority of its budget revenue derives from foreign trade (oil and gas exports).
"Russia has its European agenda and is working on that, but we want to have an Asia-Pacific agenda.... The future of faster growth for us is to have two strong legs, a European one and an Asian," Shuvalov said. He reported that Putin plans to set up some "special format" after the summit, for pushing "bureaucrats and businessmen to turn their heads to the East." He confirmed that Russia will try to use the APEC summit to engage its neighbors more seriously in investing in the development of Siberia and the Russian Far East.
He also specifically called for cooperation among Asian-Pacific countries in developing nuclear energy, with safe technologies.
Overall, underinvestment in the Russian Far East is a major issue right now, as has been stressed by Victor Ishayev, the Presidential Representative to the Far East Federal District and now also Minister for Far East Development, which is a new post just created this year. Last July 2, he warned that in 2012, "the federal government has slashed by 80% the amount of investment going into the Far East." As infrastructure projects related to the APEC summit and the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline neared completion, "the reduction of investments [could] already be felt," Ishayev said.
In his view, "the Far East can be developed only through federal investment and big projects," but such projects have not been approved. Even the site-preparation work at a flagship project such as the building of Cosmodrome Vostochny, Ishayev said at a conference held at the Vostochny site in Amur Region on July 24, is slogging along because the funds have not been forthcoming.
With the Russian budget-formation process still operating under monetarist rules, the Finance Ministry last month announced it will seek to cut at least 12% of 2013 federal spending (equivalent to tens of billions of dollars). Since defense, debt service, and the social spending promised by Putin during the Presidential campaign are protected from cuts, the Finance Ministry seeks to slash funds for "the regions" and for Russian Railways, among other needs -- in other words, exactly the spending areas that would include projects in Siberia and the Far East.
As Lyndon LaRouche has often indicated, Russian leaders have yet to understand, and implement, a policy of productive public credit.
~ deutsch + english ~
+++ 7. Mai 2013 +++
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+++ 7. Mai 2013 +++
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+++ 7. Mai 2013 +++
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