ST. PETERSBURG, May 23, 2:14 /ITAR-TASS/. On Friday, the second day of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak at the full-scale session devoted to ways of building up confidence in an era of change and hold a series of meetings.
In his message of greeting to the SPIEF participants and guests he said this discussion floor has won wide acclaim as an authoritative and crucial communication format, with the most topical issues facing Russia and the whole world taking centre stage.
“This time the forum is devoted to a very important theme – ways of strengthening confidence in an era of change. Amid the ongoing rapid geopolitical, technological and structural change this choice is not accidental. The international community will be able to move forward and maintain continued global development only if it presents a common front, ensures mutual respect for each other’s interests and builds up constructive bonds established over years,” Putin said.
In his opinion “it is obvious that sustainable socio-economic growth, greater volumes of trade and investments and the introduction of innovations and creation of modern jobs will be possible only on the condition businesses have firm confidence in the market environment, bodies of power and the legal system.”
“For this the governments, international institutions, and business quarters should enhance new, more effective forms and mechanisms of cooperation and go ahead with the joint search for ways of managing global processes and risks,” Putin.
Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov has told the media that in his statement Putin would touch upon crucial problems of the world economy, as well as the measures the Russian leadership was taking to improve the investment climate, identify new points of growth, in the first place, those inside the country, amid the no easy situation in world politics and a slack foreign economic environment.”
The Kremlin believes “the necessary reserves for this are in place.”
The budget sphere is rather stable, the federal budget deficit, in contrast to that in other countries, is at a low level (in 2013 0.5% of the GDP in Russia in contrast to 3.5% of the GDP in the EU countries). “Also, the funds accumulated in the Reserve Fund (4.3% of the GDP) will enable the state to steadily finance its social liabilities,” Ushakov said. The rate of unemployment stays low (5.5%) and the state debt, moderate (54.8 billion dollars). Gold and foreign exchange reserves have reached a record high of over 471 billion dollars.
Later on Friday Putin will have a discussion with the chiefs of leading Russian and foreign companies.
“The focus of attention will be on ways of improving the mechanisms of a dialogue between the authorities and business structures, the liberalization of international trade and expansion of employment,” Ushakov said.
Putin will hold meetings with members of the international expert council of Russia’s Direct Investments Fund and the chiefs of the leading infrastructural funds from the United States, China, Bahrain, Kuwait, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Italy and France. Their overall investment capabilities exceed 3.6 billion US dollars.
There will follow bilateral meetings with foreign leaders and officials, including China’s Vice-President Li Yunchao and Mongolia’s Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag, Ushakov said.
On Saturday, Putin will hold a meeting with representatives of the world energy business and have a conversation with the leaders of world news agencies.