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Putin highlights Russia's APEC agenda

Updated: 2012-09-06 09:54

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday underscored the Moscow-initiated priority areas for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok.

In an article wrote for the Wall Street Journal Asia edition, Putin praised the APEC framework as "a good example of how integration contributes to economic development, giving a positive signal to business."

One major topic for discussion at the summit will be freeing up trade and investment flows to stimulate economic growth, taking into account Russia's recent accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Putin wrote.

The principle of free trade is undergoing a crisis, as "we regularly observe recurrences of protectionism and veiled trade wars instead of lifting barriers," Putin said, calling for joint efforts to "clear the accumulated imbalance."

Food security is another key issue, as all participants of the summit agreed that the instability in global food markets could lead to serious economic and social risks. Thus, "we must jointly offer answers to this challenge," said Putin.

As for economic integration, the creation of a common market between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan gave Russia new room to strengthen dialogues with its APEC partners, Putin said.

The already-implemented Customs Union and Common Economic Space agreements, and the prospective Eurasian Economic Union are expected to improve efficiency among its members and promote regional integration, Putin said.

Establishing reliable supply chains and facilitating logistics in the region are important integration projects, Putin said, citing examples of new ports built in the Far East region and modernized transportation and shipment infrastructure in the whole country.

According to assessments by experts of the APEC Business Advisory Council, the implementation of these projects will increase traffic flow between Europe and the Asian-Pacific region via Russia's territory no less than fivefold by 2020, Putin said, adding new routes are cost-competitive and offer advantages in terms of speed and safety.

In regard to sustainable growth, Putin said the quality of growth matters, and focus should be made on innovations and development of human potential.

Russia has long been an "intrinsic part" of the Asia-Pacific region, and took the region as a crucial factor for its future growth, Putin said.

"We expect the upcoming Vladivostok summit will once again demonstrate to the world Russia is a nation of broad opportunities and ready to join forces with our neighbors to advance our common creative goals," Putin concluded.

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