Tuvan Delegation Takes Part in the Saint-Petersburg Forum
10 June 2007
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Over 6000 people representing 60 countries take part in the 11th Saint-Petersburg International Economic Forum. Among its participants is a Tuvan delegation headed by Sholban Kara-ool, Prime-Minister. Tuvan railway Kyzyl-Kuragino project will be presented at the forum. Today Chinese-Russian investment cooperation is being discussed within the Saint-Petersburg Forum.
Russia' economic prospects have been voiced in Saint-Petersburg by the Russian high-ranking officials.
A first Russian deputy prime minister set the goal of making the country one of the five largest economies in terms of GDP by 2020 Saturday.
In his report on the national economic strategy until 2020, which opened the 11th economic forum in St. Petersburg, Sergei Ivanov, seen by many as a possible presidential successor after 2008, said the economic goal could be achieved through a liberal economic policy based on high technologies, broader and transparent investment, and high competitiveness.
In the past few years, Russia's GDP has been exceeding 6%. President Vladimir Putin has set the goal of doubling the GDP by 2010.
"GDP per capita by consumer spending parity will be around $30,000 in 2005 prices [by 2020], compared to the current $12,000," Ivanov forecasted.
Ivanov said Russia was ahead of the majority of emerging economies in terms of foreign investment. As an example, the official said accumulated foreign investment in 2006 topped $150 billion.
"In the first quarter of 2007, we received nearly $10 billion in direct foreign investment," he said. Capital inflow is expected to reach $60 billion in the first half of this year, Ivanov said, adding that the figure exceeded indicators in other countries with transitional economy.
"We are interested in creating a favorable environment for foreign investors," Ivanov said. "It means a transparent investment infrastructure, and further development of the stock market and the banking sector."
Encouraging fair competition will also contribute to faster economic development, and this requires a long-term development strategy, the first deputy premier said. "The strategy must seek to modernize protection of competition and anti-monopoly measures, and to clear barriers for new Russian and foreign businesses entering the market," he said.
Ivanov said foreign companies would have easier access to the Russian market after the country joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). "Further steps here require an agreement on a strategic partnership with the European Union (EU) and an upgrading of regulatory institutions," he said.
Ivanov said Russia might become one of the world's leading innovation centers.
"I am convinced that Russia is capable of becoming a leading world innovation center," he said. "We will set up a special commission to promote breakthrough innovative projects."
Special technological and economic zones will be formed to speed up development in the area, the first deputy premier said, but added that relevant professional training was also required to achieve the goal.
He called for overhauling the education system by applying foreign experience, and setting up business schools and government administration colleges that would be up to international standards.
Ivanov also said Russia must form a society based on information technologies. "It is not an abstract term," he said. "IT technologies must become part of everyday life."
As an example of innovative economic development, Ivanov cited state holdings, currently being formed to consolidate state and private assets in the aircraft building, shipbuilding and nuclear industries. Ivanov has been put in charge of these projects.
"Such holdings allow the state to buy out part of the assets from private businessmen - for a market price and not in the form of expropriation," he said. "These will be public corporations that could take up ambitious projects and compete on global markets."
Ivanov also said that part of the currently formed state holdings could eventually be floated. "The goal here is not only to attract funds but also to become truly modern public companies, with both Russian and foreign shareholders," he said.
The official said one of the targets was to promote Russia's civilian aircraft industry to the third place, with 10% of the world market by 2020. "We also expect the shipbuilding sector to triple production," he added.
Substantial efforts will also be put into nuclear energy, Russia's key export technology, he said.
Up to 90% of the profit in the country's nuclear sector comes from nuclear fuel, power and service exports, but Russia also seeks to export more uranium.
Russia has launched projects to build floating nuclear power plants. In April, Russia laid the foundation for the first floating plant in the northern city of Severodvinsk and is expected to build another six plants within a decade.
"Only our country has started building floating power plants with nuclear reactors. Nuclear power will have a considerably larger share in Russia's energy balance," Ivanov said.
A senior Russian nuclear official, Sergei Krysov, said earlier this week that 20 countries had shown interest in floating nuclear power plants.
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