Davos: a nova divisão internacional do trabalho
Enquanto os manifestantes anti-globalização decoravam os noticiários de mais uma cimeira de Davos, e em Portugal um primeiro ministro aldrabão e aparentemente corrupto tem saturado a paisagem mediática local, dois discursos estratégicos de grande importância estão a caminho de mudar profundamente a paisagem económica e política mundial, muito para além do episódio sintomático do abandono dos trabalhos da cimeira por parte do primeiro ministro turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan numa reacção intempestiva ao desfavorecimento do tempo de intervenção que lhe fora concedido relativamente ao homólogo israelita Shimon Peres.
Embora com graus de diplomacia e subtileza retórica diferenciados, Vladimir Putin e Wen Jiabao, fizeram uma análise coincidente sobre as causas da actual crise económico-financeira global: uma América demasiado endividada, consumidora voraz de recursos materiais e financeiros, responsável por um gigantesco esquema Ponzi à escala mundial, e emitente de uma moeda de reserva que perdeu toda a credibilidade. Nas receitas para a crise, China e Rússia formularam ainda ideias semelhantes, que apontam para uma nova e mais justa divisão internacional do trabalho, implicando um acesso mais equilibrado e proporcional de todos os países aos recursos disponíveis, uma nova disciplina financeira mundial, a prioridade da economia real face às economias de casino e o fim do dólar como única moeda de reserva mundial (Wen Jiabao confiou este último recado a Putin…). Ambos os países consideram ainda que o investimento na paz é uma aposta de longo prazo vencedora, ao contrário dos especuladores que insistem nas aventuras militares.
Vale a pena ler integralmente os dois discursos.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks at the World Economic Forum annual meeting, in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 28, 2009. / (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
Strengthen Confidence and Work Together for A New Round of World Economic Growth
28 January 2009
Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here and address the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009. Let me begin by thanking Chairman Schwab for his kind invitation and thoughtful arrangements. This annual meeting has a special significance. Amidst a global financial crisis rarely seen in history, it brings together government leaders, business people, experts and scholars of different countries to jointly explore ways to maintain international financial stability, promote world economic growth and better address global issues. Its theme — “Shaping the Post-Crisis World” is highly relevant. It reflects the vision of its organizers. People from across the world are eager to hear words of wisdom from here that will give them strength to tide over the crisis. It is thus our responsibility to send to the world a message of confidence, courage and hope. I look forward to a successful meeting.
The ongoing international financial crisis has landed the world economy in the most difficult situation since last century’s Great Depression. In the face of the crisis, countries and the international community have taken various measures to address it. These measures have played an important role in boosting confidence, reducing the consequences of the crisis, and forestalling a meltdown of the financial system and a deep global recession. This crisis is attributable to a variety of factors and the major ones are: inappropriate macroeconomic policies of some economies and their unsustainable model of development characterized by prolonged low savings and high consumption; excessive expansion of financial institutions in a blind pursuit of profit; lack of self-discipline among financial institutions and rating agencies and the ensuing distortion of risk information and asset pricing; and the failure of financial supervision and regulation to keep up with financial innovations, which allowed the risks of financial derivatives to build and spread. As the saying goes, “A fall in the pit, a gain in your wit,” we must draw lessons from this crisis and address its root causes. In other words, we must strike a balance between savings and consumption, between financial innovation and regulation, and between the financial sector and real economy.
The current crisis has inflicted a rather big impact on China’s economy. We are facing severe challenges, including notably shrinking external demand, overcapacity in some sectors, difficult business conditions for enterprises, rising unemployment in urban areas and greater downward pressure on economic growth.
As a big responsible country, China has acted in an active and responsible way during this crisis. We mainly rely on expanding effective domestic demand, particularly consumer demand, to boost economic growth. [ELAINE: unlike Japan!] We have made timely adjustment to the direction of our macroeconomic policy, swiftly adopted a proactive fiscal policy and a moderately easy monetary policy, introduced ten measures to shore up domestic demand and put in place a series of related policies. Together, they make up a systematic and comprehensive package plan aimed at ensuring steady and relatively fast economic growth.
First, substantially increase government spending and implement a structural tax cut. The Chinese Government has rolled out a two-year program involving a total investment of RMB 4 trillion, equivalent to 16 percent of China’s GDP in 2007. The investment will mainly go to government-subsidized housing projects, projects concerning the well-being of rural residents, railway construction and other infrastructural projects, environmental protection projects and post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction. Some of them are identified as priority projects in China’s 11th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development. The rest are additional ones to meet the needs of the new situation. This two-year stimulus program has gone through scientific feasibility studies and is supported by a detailed financial arrangement. RMB 1.18 trillion will come from central government’s budget, which is expected to generate funds from local governments and other sources. The Chinese Government has also launched a massive tax cut program which features the comprehensive transformation of the value-added tax, the adoption of preferential tax policies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and real estate transactions, and the abolition or suspension of 100 items of administrative fees. It is expected to bring about a total saving of RMB 500 billion for businesses and households each year.
Second, frequently cut interest rates and increase liquidity in the banking system. The central bank has cut deposit and lending rates of financial institutions five times in a row, with the one-year benchmark deposit and lending rates down by 1.89 percentage points and 2.16 percentage points respectively. Thus the financial burden of companies has been greatly reduced. The required reserve ratio has been lowered four times, adding up to a total reduction of 2 percentage points for large financial institutions and 4 percentage points for small and medium-sized ones. This has released around RMB 800 billion of liquidity and substantially increased funds available to commercial banks. A series of policy measures have been adopted in the financial sector to boost economic growth, including increasing lending, optimizing the credit structure, and providing greater financial support to agriculture and the SMEs.
Third, implement the industrial restructuring and rejuvenation program on a large scale. We are seizing the opportunity to push ahead comprehensive industrial restructuring and upgrading. To this end, plans are being drawn up for key industries such as automobile and iron and steel, which not only focus on addressing the immediate difficulties of enterprises but also look toward their long-term development. We have taken strong measures to facilitate the merger and reorganization of enterprises, phase out backward production capacity, promote advanced productive forces, and improve industry concentration and the efficiency of resource allocation. We encourage our enterprises to upgrade technologies and make technological renovation. We support them in making extensive use of new technologies, techniques, equipment and materials to restructure their product mix, develop marketable products and improve their competitiveness. Our financial support policies are being improved, a sound credit guarantee system installed and market access eased for the benefit of SME development.
Fourth, actively encourage innovation and upgrading in science and technology. We are speeding up the implementation of the National Program for Medium- and Long-Term Scientific and Technological Development with a special focus on 16 key projects in order to make breakthroughs in core technologies and key generic technologies. This will provide scientific and technological support for China’s sustainable economic development at a higher level. We are developing high-tech industrial clusters and creating new social demand and new economic growth areas. Fifth, substantially raise the level of social security.
We have accelerated the improvement of social safety net. We will continue to increase basic pension for enterprise retirees and upgrade the standard of unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. We will raise the level of basic cost of living allowances in both urban and rural areas, welfare allowances for those rural residents without family support and the special allowances and assistance to entitled groups. This year, the central budget for social security and employment will increase at a much higher rate than the growth of the overall fiscal revenue.
We are advancing the reform of the medical and health system and working to put in place a nationwide basic medical and health system covering both urban and rural areas within three years and achieve the goal of everyone having access to basic medical and health service. It is estimated that governments at all levels will invest RMB 850 billion for this purpose. We give priority to education and are now working on the Guidelines of the National Program for Medium- and Long-Term Educational Reform and Development.
This year, we will increase public funds for compulsory education in rural areas, offer more financial support to students from poor families and improve the well-being of middle and primary school teachers so as to promote equity in education and optimize the educational structure. We are using every possible means to lessen the impact of the financial crisis on employment.
We are following a more active employment policy. In particular, we have introduced various policy measures to help college graduates and migrant workers find jobs and provided more government-funded jobs in public service. These major policy measures as a whole target both symptoms and root causes, and address both immediate and long-term concerns. They represent a holistic approach and are mutually reinforcing. They are designed to address the need to boost domestic demand, readjust and reinvigorate industries, encourage scientific innovation and strengthen social security. They are designed to stimulate consumption through increased investment, overcome the current difficulties with long-term development in mind, and promote economic growth in the interest of people’s livelihood. These measures can mobilize all resources to meet the current crisis.
China’s economy is in good shape on the whole. We managed to maintain steady and relatively fast economic growth in 2008 despite two unexpected massive natural disasters. Our GDP grew by 9 percent. CPI was basically stable. We had a good grain harvest for the fifth consecutive year, with a total output of 528.5 million tons. Eleven million and one hundred and thirty thousand new jobs were created in cities and towns. Household income in both urban and rural areas continued to rise. The financial system functioned well and the banking system kept its liquidity and credit asset quality at a healthy level. When China, a large developing country, runs its affairs well, it can help restore confidence in global economic growth and curb the spread of the international financial crisis. It will also help increase China’s imports and outbound investment, boost world economic growth and create more development and job opportunities for other countries. Steady and fast growth of China’s economy is in itself an important contribution to global financial stability and world economic growth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Will China’s economy continue to grow fast and steadily? Some people may have doubts about it. Yet I can give you a definite answer: Yes, it will. We are full of confidence. Where does our confidence come from? It comes from the fact that the fundamentals of China’s economy remain unchanged. Thanks to our right judgment of the situation and prompt and decisive adjustment to our macroeconomic policy, our economy remains on the track of steady and fast development. Our package plan takes into consideration both the need to address current difficulties and that of long-term development. It is beginning to produce results and will be more effective this year. Our confidence comes from the fact that the long-term trend of China’s economic development remains unchanged.
We are in an important period of strategic opportunities and in the process of fast industrialization and urbanization. Infrastructure construction, upgrading of industrial and consumption structures, environmental protection and conservation projects, and various social development programs–all can be translated into huge demand and growth potential and will bolster relatively high-speed growth of our economy for a long time to come. Our confidence also comes from the fact that the advantages contributing to China’s economic growth remain unchanged. With 30 years’ of reform and opening-up, we have laid a good material, technological and institutional foundation.
We have a large well-trained and relatively low-cost labor force. We have a healthy fiscal balance, a sound financial system and adequate funds. Our system enables us to mobilize the necessary resources for big undertakings. There is harmony and stability in our society. What is more important, we follow a scientific approach to development which puts people first and seeks comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development. We are committed to reform, opening-up and win-win progress. We have found the right development path in line with China’s national conditions and the trend of our times. Our people are hard-working, persevering and resilient. It is precisely these fine qualities that endow China, a country with a time-honored history, with greater vitality in the face of adversities.
At the same time, there is no fundamental change in the external environment for China’s economic growth. The pursuit of peace, development and cooperation is the irreversible trend in today’s world. The readjustment to the international division of labor offers new opportunities. We have the confidence, conditions and ability to maintain steady and fast economic growth and continue to contribute to world economic growth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The global financial crisis is a challenge for the whole world. Confidence, cooperation and responsibility are key to overcoming the crisis. Confidence is the source of strength. The power of confidence is far greater than what can be imagined. The pressing task for the international community and individual countries is to take further measures to restore market confidence as soon as possible. In times of economic hardships, confidence of all countries in the prospect of global economic development, confidence of leaders and people around the world in their countries, confidence of enterprises in investment and confidence of individuals in consumption are more important than anything else. In tackling the crisis, practical cooperation is the effective way. In a world of economic globalization, countries are tied together in their destinies and can hardly be separated from one another. The financial crisis is a test of the readiness of the international community to enhance cooperation, and a test of our wisdom.
Only with closer cooperation and mutual help, can we successfully manage the crisis. To prevail over the crisis, accepting responsibilities is the prerequisite. When governments fulfill their responsibilities with resolution and courage, they can help maintain a stable financial order and prevent the crisis from causing more serious damage on the real economy. Political leaders must be forward-looking. They should be responsible to the entire international community as well as to their own countries and people. It is imperative that we implement the broad agreement reached since the G20 Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy. We should not only take more forceful and effective steps to tide over the current difficulties, but also push for the establishment of a new world economic order that is just, equitable, sound and stable. To this end, I would like to share with you the following ideas.
First, deepen international economic cooperation and promote a sound multilateral trading regime. Past experience shows that in crisis it is all the more important to stick to a policy of opening-up and cooperation. Trade protectionism serves no purpose as it will only worsen and prolong the crisis. It is therefore necessary to move forward trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. China firmly supports efforts to reach balanced results of the Doha Round negotiations at an early date and the establishment of a fair and open multilateral trading regime. As an important supplement to such a trading regime, regional economic integration should be vigorously promoted.
Second, advance the reform of the international financial system and accelerate the establishment of a new international financial order. The current crisis has fully exposed the deficiencies in the existing international financial system and its governance structure. It is important to speed up reform of the governance structures of major international financial institutions, establish a sound global financial rescue mechanism, and enhance capacity in fulfilling responsibilities. Developing countries should have greater say and representation in international financial institutions and their role in maintaining international and regional financial stability should be brought into full play. We should encourage regional monetary and financial cooperation, make good use of regional liquidity assistance mechanisms, and steadily move the international monetary system toward greater diversification.
Third, strengthen international cooperation in financial supervision and regulation and guard against the build-up and spread of financial risks. Financial authorities around the world should step up information sharing and the monitoring of global capital flows to avoid the cross-border transmission of financial risks. We should expand the regulation coverage of the international financial system, with particular emphasis on strengthening the supervision on major reserve currency countries. We should put in place a timely and efficient early warning system against crisis. We should introduce reasonable and effective financial regulatory standards and improve oversight mechanisms in such areas as accounting standards and capital adequacy requirements. We should tighten regulation of financial institutions and intermediaries and enhance transparency of financial markets and products.
Fourth, effectively protect the interests of developing countries and promote economic development of the whole world. The international community, developed countries in particular, should assume due responsibilities and obligations to minimize the damage caused by the international financial crisis on developing countries and help them maintain financial stability and economic growth. International financial institutions should act promptly to assist those developing countries in need through such measures as relaxing lending conditions. We should advance the international poverty reduction process and scale up assistance to the least developed countries and regions in particular with a view to building up their capacity for independent development.
Fifth, jointly tackle global challenges and build a better home for mankind. Issues such as climate change, environmental degradation, diseases, natural disasters, energy, resources and food security as well as the spread of terrorism bear on the very survival and development of mankind. No country can be insulated from these challenges or meet them on its own. The international community should intensify cooperation and respond to these challenges together.
I want to reaffirm here China’s abiding commitment to peaceful, open and cooperative development. China is ready to work with other members of the international community to maintain international financial stability, promote world economic growth, tackle various global risks and challenges, and contribute its share to world harmony and sustainable development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The harsh winter will be gone and spring is around the corner. Let us strengthen confidence and work closely together to bring about a new round of world economic growth.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum
Davos, Switzerland January 28, 2009
Good afternoon, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank the forum’s organisers for this opportunity to share my thoughts on global economic developments and to share our plans and proposals. The world is now facing the first truly global economic crisis, which is continuing to develop at an unprecedented pace.
The current situation is often compared to the Great Depression of the late 1920s and the early 1930s. True, there are some similarities.
However, there are also some basic differences. The crisis has affected everyone at this time of globalisation. Regardless of their political or economic system, all nations have found themselves in the same boat.
There is a certain concept, called the perfect storm, which denotes a situation when Nature’s forces converge in one point of the ocean and increase their destructive potential many times over. It appears that the present-day crisis resembles such a perfect storm.
Responsible and knowledgeable people must prepare for it. Nevertheless, it always flares up unexpectedly.
The current situation is no exception either. Although the crisis was simply hanging in the air, the majority strove to get their share of the pie, be it one dollar or a billion, and did not want to notice the rising wave. In the last few months, virtually every speech on this subject started with criticism of the United States. But I will do nothing of the kind.
I just want to remind you that, just a year ago, American delegates speaking from this rostrum emphasised the US economy’s fundamental stability and its cloudless prospects. Today, investment banks, the pride of Wall Street, have virtually ceased to exist. In just 12 months, they have posted losses exceeding the profits they made in the last 25 years. This example alone reflects the real situation better than any criticism.
The time for enlightenment has come. We must calmly, and without gloating, assess the root causes of this situation and try to peek into the future. In our opinion, the crisis was brought about by a combination of several factors.
The existing financial system has failed. Substandard regulation has contributed to the crisis, failing to duly heed tremendous risks.
Add to this colossal disproportions that have accumulated over the last few years. This primarily concerns disproportions between the scale of financial operations and the fundamental value of assets, as well as those between the increased burden on international loans and the sources of their collateral.
The entire economic growth system, where one regional centre prints money without respite and consumes material wealth, while another regional centre manufactures inexpensive goods and saves money printed by other governments, has suffered a major setback.
I would like to add that this system has left entire regions, including Europe, on the outskirts of global economic processes and has prevented them from adopting key economic and financial decisions.
Moreover, generated prosperity was distributed extremely unevenly among various population strata. This applies to differences between social strata in certain countries, including highly developed ones. And it equally applies to gaps between countries and regions.
A considerable share of the world’s population still cannot afford comfortable housing, education and quality health care. Even a global recovery posted in the last few years has failed to radically change this situation.
And, finally, this crisis was brought about by excessive expectations. Corporate appetites with regard to constantly growing demand swelled unjustifiably. The race between stock market indices and capitalisation began to overshadow rising labour productivity and real-life corporate effectiveness.
Unfortunately, excessive expectations were not only typical of the business community. They set the pace for rapidly growing personal consumption standards, primarily in the industrial world. We must openly admit that such growth was not backed by a real potential. This amounted to unearned wealth, a loan that will have to be repaid by future generations. This pyramid of expectations would have collapsed sooner or later. In fact, this is happening right before our eyes.
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One is sorely tempted to make simple and popular decisions in times of crisis. However, we could face far greater complications if we merely treat the symptoms of the disease.
Naturally, all national governments and business leaders must take resolute actions. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid making decisions, even in such force majeure circumstances, that we will regret in the future.
This is why I would first like to mention specific measures which should be avoided and which will not be implemented by Russia.
We must not revert to isolationism and unrestrained economic egotism. The leaders of the world’s largest economies agreed during the November 2008 G20 summit not to create barriers hindering global trade and capital flows. Russia shares these principles.
Although additional protectionism will prove inevitable during the crisis, all of us must display a sense of proportion.
Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence is another possible mistake.
True, the state’s increased role in times of crisis is a natural reaction to market setbacks. Instead of streamlining market mechanisms, some are tempted to expand state economic intervention to the greatest possible extent.
The concentration of surplus assets in the hands of the state is a negative aspect of anti-crisis measures in virtually every nation.
In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.
Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.
And one more point: anti-crisis measures should not escalate into financial populism and a refusal to implement responsible macroeconomic policies. The unjustified swelling of the budgetary deficit and the accumulation of public debts are just as destructive as adventurous stock-jobbing.
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Ladies and gentlemen,
Unfortunately, we have so far failed to comprehend the true scale of the ongoing crisis. But one thing is obvious: the extent of the recession and its scale will largely depend on specific high-precision measures, due to be charted by governments and business communities and on our coordinated and professional efforts.
In our opinion, we must first atone for the past and open our cards, so to speak. This means we must assess the real situation and write off all hopeless debts and “bad” assets.
True, this will be an extremely painful and unpleasant process. Far from everyone can accept such measures, fearing for their capitalisation, bonuses or reputation. However, we would “conserve” and prolong the crisis, unless we clean up our balance sheets. I believe financial authorities must work out the required mechanism for writing off debts that corresponds to today’s needs.
Second. Apart from cleaning up our balance sheets, it is high time we got rid of virtual money, exaggerated reports and dubious ratings. We must not harbour any illusions while assessing the state of the global economy and the real corporate standing, even if such assessments are made by major auditors and analysts. In effect, our proposal implies that the audit, accounting and ratings system reform must be based on a reversion to the fundamental asset value concept. In other words, assessments of each individual business must be based on its ability to generate added value, rather than on subjective concepts. In our opinion, the economy of the future must become an economy of real values. How to achieve this is not so clear-cut. Let us think about it together.
Third. Excessive dependence on a single reserve currency is dangerous for the global economy. Consequently, it would be sensible to encourage the objective process of creating several strong reserve currencies in the future. It is high time we launched a detailed discussion of methods to facilitate a smooth and irreversible switchover to the new model.
Fourth. Most nations convert their international reserves into foreign currencies and must therefore be convinced that they are reliable. Those issuing reserve and accounting currencies are objectively interested in their use by other states.
This highlights mutual interests and interdependence.
Consequently, it is important that reserve currency issuers must implement more open monetary policies. Moreover, these nations must pledge to abide by internationally recognised rules of macroeconomic and financial discipline. In our opinion, this demand is not excessive.
At the same time, the global financial system is not the only element in need of reforms. We are facing a much broader range of problems.
This means that a system based on cooperation between several major centres must replace the obsolete unipolar world concept.
We must strengthen the system of global regulators based on international law and a system of multilateral agreements in order to prevent chaos and unpredictability in such a multipolar world. Consequently, it is very important that we reassess the role of leading international organisations and institutions. I am convinced that we can build a more equitable and efficient global economic system. But it is impossible to create a detailed plan at this event today.
It is clear, however, that every nation must have guaranteed access to vital resources, new technology and development sources. What we need is guarantees that could minimise risks of recurring crises.
Naturally, we must continue to discuss all these issues, including at the G20 meeting in London, which will take place in April.
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Our decisions should match the present-day situation and heed the requirements of a new post-crisis world.
The global economy could face trite energy-resource shortages and the threat of thwarted future growth while overcoming the crisis.
Three years ago, at a summit of the Group of Eight, we raised the issue of global energy security. We called for the shared responsibility of suppliers, consumers and transit countries. I think it is time to launch truly effective mechanisms ensuring such responsibility.
The only way to ensure truly global energy security is to form interdependence, including a swap of assets, without any discrimination or dual standards. It is such interdependence that generates real mutual responsibility.
Unfortunately, the existing Energy Charter has failed to become a working instrument able to regulate emerging problems.
I propose we start laying down a new international legal framework for energy security. Implementation of our initiative could play a political role comparable to the treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community. That is to say, consumers and producers would finally be bound into a real single energy partnership based on clear-cut legal foundations.
Every one of us realises that sharp and unpredictable fluctuations of energy prices are a colossal destabilising factor in the global economy. Today’s landslide fall of prices will lead to a growth in the consumption of resources.
On the one hand, investments in energy saving and alternative sources of energy will be curtailed. On the other, less money will be invested in oil production, which will result in its inevitable downturn. Which, in the final analysis, will escalate into another fit of uncontrolled price growth and a new crisis.
It is necessary to return to a balanced price based on an equilibrium between supply and demand, to strip pricing of a speculative element generated by many derivative financial instruments.
To guarantee the transit of energy resources remains a challenge. There are two ways of tackling it, and both must be used.
The first is to go over to generally recognised market principles of fixing tariffs on transit services. They can be recorded in international legal documents.
The second is to develop and diversify the routes of energy transportation. We have been working long and hard along these lines.
In the past few years alone, we have implemented such projects as the Yamal- Europe and Blue Stream gas pipelines. Experience has proved their urgency and relevance.
I am convinced that such projects as South Stream and North Stream are equally needed for Europe’s energy security. Their total estimated capacity is something like 85 billion cubic meters of gas a year.
Gazprom, together with its partners – Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi – will soon launch capacities for liquefying and transporting natural gas produced in the Sakhalin area. And that is also Russia’s contribution to global energy security.
We are developing the infrastructure of our oil pipelines. The first section of the Baltic Pipeline System (BPS) has already been completed. BPS-1 supplies up to 75 million tonnes of oil a year. It does this direct to consumers – via our ports on the Baltic Sea. Transit risks are completely eliminated in this way. Work is currently under way to design and build BPS-2 (its throughput capacity is 50 million tonnes of oil a year.
We intend to build transport infrastructure in all directions. The first stage of the pipeline system Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean is in the final stage. Its terminal point will be a new oil port in Kozmina Bay and an oil refinery in the Vladivostok area. In the future a gas pipeline will be laid parallel to the oil pipeline, towards the Pacific and China.
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Addressing you here today, I cannot but mention the effects of the global crisis on the Russian economy. We have also been seriously affected.
However, unlike many other countries, we have accumulated large reserves. They expand our possibilities for confidently passing through the period of global instability.
The crisis has made the problems we had more evident. They concern the excessive emphasis on raw materials in exports and the economy in general and a weak financial market. The need to develop a number of fundamental market institutions, above all of a competitive environment, has become more acute.
We were aware of these problems and sought to address them gradually. The crisis is only making us move more actively towards the declared priorities, without changing the strategy itself, which is to effect a qualitative renewal of Russia in the next 10 to 12 years.
Our anti-crisis policy is aimed at supporting domestic demand, providing social guarantees for the population, and creating new jobs. Like many countries, we have reduced production taxes, leaving money in the economy. We have optimised state spending.
But, I repeat, along with measures of prompt response, we are also working to create a platform for post-crisis development.
We are convinced that those who will create attractive conditions for global investment already now and will be able to preserve and strengthen sources of strategically meaningful resources will become leaders of the restoration of the global economy.
This is why among our priorities we have the creation of a favourable business environment and development of competition; the establishment of a stable loan system resting on sufficient internal resources; and implementation of transport and other infrastructure projects.
Russia is already one of the major exporters of a number of food commodities. And our contribution to ensuring global food security will only increase.
We are also going to actively develop the innovation sectors of the economy. Above all, those in which Russia has a competitive edge – space, nuclear energy, aviation. In these areas, we are already actively establishing cooperative ties with other countries. A promising area for joint efforts could be the sphere of energy saving. We see higher energy efficiency as one of the key factors for energy security and future development.
We will continue reforms in our energy industry. Adoption of a new system of internal pricing based on economically justified tariffs. This is important, including for encouraging energy saving. We will continue our policy of openness to foreign investments.
I believe that the 21st century economy is an economy of people not of factories. The intellectual factor has become increasingly important in the economy. That is why we are planning to focus on providing additional opportunities for people to realise their potential.
We are already a highly educated nation. But we need for Russian citizens to obtain the highest quality and most up-to-date education, and such professional skills that will be widely in demand in today’s world. Therefore, we will be pro- active in promoting educational programmes in leading specialities.
We will expand student exchange programmes, arrange training for our students at the leading foreign colleges and universities and with the most advanced companies. We will also create such conditions that the best researchers and professors – regardless of their citizenship – will want to come and work in Russia.
History has given Russia a unique chance. Events urgently require that we reorganise our economy and update our social sphere. We do not intend to pass up this chance. Our country must emerge from the crisis renewed, stronger and more competitive.
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Separately, I would like to comment on problems that go beyond the purely economic agenda, but nevertheless are very topical in present-day conditions.
Unfortunately, we are increasingly hearing the argument that the build-up of military spending could solve today’s social and economic problems. The logic is simple enough. Additional military allocations create new jobs.
At a glance, this sounds like a good way of fighting the crisis and unemployment. This policy might even be quite effective in the short term. But in the longer run, militarisation won’t solve the problem but will rather quell it temporarily. What it will do is squeeze huge financial and other resources from the economy instead of finding better and wiser uses for them.
My conviction is that reasonable restraint in military spending, especially coupled with efforts to enhance global stability and security, will certainly bring significant economic dividends.
I hope that this viewpoint will eventually dominate globally. On our part, we are geared to intensive work on discussing further disarmament.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the economic crisis could aggravate the current negative trends in global politics.
The world has lately come to face an unheard-of surge of violence and other aggressive actions, such as Georgia’s adventurous sortie in the Caucasus, recent terrorist attacks in India, and escalation of violence in Gaza Strip. Although not apparently linked directly, these developments still have common features.
First of all, I am referring to the existing international organisations’ inability to provide any constructive solutions to regional conflicts, or any effective proposals for interethnic and interstate settlement. Multilateral political mechanisms have proved as ineffective as global financial and economic regulators.
Frankly speaking, we all know that provoking military and political instability, regional and other conflicts is a helpful means of distracting the public from growing social and economic problems. Such attempts cannot be ruled out, unfortunately.
To prevent this scenario, we need to improve the system of international relations, making it more effective, safe and stable.
There are a lot of important issues on the global agenda in which most countries have shared interests. These include anti-crisis policies, joint efforts to reform international financial institutions, to improve regulatory mechanisms, ensure energy security and mitigate the global food crisis, which is an extremely pressing issue today.
Russia is willing to contribute to dealing with international priority issues. We expect all our partners in Europe, Asia and America, including the new US administration, to show interest in further constructive cooperation in dealing with all these issues and more. We wish the new team success.
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Ladies and gentlemen, The international community is facing a host of extremely complicated problems, which might seem overpowering at times. But, a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step, as the proverb goes.
We must seek foothold relying on the moral values that have ensured the progress of our civilisation. Integrity and hard work, responsibility and self-confidence will eventually lead us to success.
We should not despair. This crisis can and must be fought, also by pooling our intellectual, moral and material resources.
This kind of consolidation of effort is impossible without mutual trust, not only between business operators, but primarily between nations.
Therefore, finding this mutual trust is a key goal we should concentrate on now.
Trust and solidarity are key to overcoming the current problems and avoiding more shocks, to reaching prosperity and welfare in this new century.
OAM 531 01-02-2009 01:29