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Putin: “build bridges, not walls”

Putin: “build bridges, not walls”
Issued by the 20th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting
Vladivostok, Russia, 8 September 2012 – “It is important to follow fundamental principles of open markets and free trade,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin when he opened the two-day meeting of APEC Economic Leaders in Vladivostok on Saturday. 
He said that Saturday’s meeting agenda items were to be dedicated to trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration and strengthening supply chains in the region. Putin is hosting the 20th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting at the Far Eastern Federal University on Russky Island in the port city of Vladivostok.
Putin explained that these topics were especially relevant to the region’s Leaders given today’s difficult economic situation.
“The recovery of the global economy is faltering,” he said. “We can only overcome negative trends by enhancing volume of trade in goods and services, and enhancing the flow of capital.”
In August, Russia became a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organization.
“We are determined to make our contribution of drafting fair rules and mechanisms of trade together with you at the global and regional levels, including in the APEC space,” said Putin.
“The priority goal is to fight protectionism together in all its forms; traditional and new alike.”
This year, APEC members developed, through consensus and compromise, a list of environmental goods that are subject to reductions of applied tariff rates by 5 percent or less by the end of 2015.
“Implementing our arrangement to reduce tariff rates for environmental goods was not easy in accordance with the APEC summit decision made in Honolulu in 2011,” said Putin.
“What’s most important is that we’re determined to continue moving towards the formulated goals in the spirit of the traditional consensus principle of APEC.
Putin emphasized the importance of transparency in bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements and giving special attention to investment issues to improve the business environment in the region.
“Under our initiative, a model chapter on transparency was drafted to be included in FTA agreements and it makes it mandatory to disclose substantial information on such matters.”
Regional integration was also a topic of discussion given the slippage of the Doha Round of trade negotiations.
“By getting together and lifting barriers we can encourage the dynamic development of the entire Asia-Pacific region and the global economy, in general,” Putin said.
“It is important to build bridges, not walls,” he explained. “We should continue striving toward greater integration and broaden dialogue between regional and sub-regional associations.”
Putin said that Leaders will talk about food security and promoting innovative growth at their retreat on Sunday here in Vladivostok.


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