Cablegate: Annual Russian American Pacific Partnership (Rapp) Seeks

DE RUEHVK #0114/01 3360307
R 020307Z DEC 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

VLADIVOSTO 00000114 001.3 OF 003

1. (SBU) Summary: The Fourteenth Annual Russian American
Pacific Partnership (RAPP), entitled "A Meeting of Shared
Interests," took place in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk September 29-30.
USG and GOR officials touted the benefits of such fora and the
strengthening of U.S.-Russian ties that they fostered. GOR
officials said they welcomed U.S. investment and cooperation in
projects such as Sakhalin I and II as well as the Sukhoi
Superjet 100, while USG officials pointed to concrete steps
taken to "reset" U.S.-Russia relations, such as naval ship
visits and cooperation on Afghanistan. Ambassador Beyrle
emphasized Russian-American "vital links" and reminded that the
21st Century was to be the Pacific Century. Consul General
Ambruster said U.S. companies could earn a lot of money in
Russia as long as they made good contacts with local government
and hired a good lawyer. There was much discussion about how
the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission could help
bring the two countries closer together, despite the fact the
USG had not set aside fund specifically to finance its
operations. Several representatives of RFE regions gave
presentations to encourage investment. End Summary.

Governor Praises Cooperation with U.S.

2. (SBU) Governor of Sakhalin Region Aleksandr Khoroshavin
opened the September 29 meeting by expressing his support for
the network building that RAPP facilitated. He said he was
hopeful that the "resetting" of relations, including the
establishment of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential
Commission, would help increase the level of trade between the
two countries. Khoroshavin said Sakhalin welcomed U.S.
companies such as Exxon Mobil, and said such projects as
Sakhalin I and II helped bring the U.S. and Russia closer
together. During this time of financial crisis, Khoroshavin
noted, the U.S. and Russia must guard against protectionism and
promote trade.

DFM Ryabkov Points to Wide-Ranging Ties

3. (SBU) DFM Sergey Ryabkov passed along greetings from FM
Lavrov, and then said the August 2008 conflict in Georgia had
prevented any meaningful dialogue between the U.S. and Russia,
but a new foreign policy framework was now coming about. The
GOR, he said, wanted to address issues before they became
problems. Russia also wanted to promote civil society
development. The U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission,
he said, would help realize these goals.

4. (SBU) DFM Ryabkov then talked about the long-standing ties
between the U.S. and Russia, going back to Russian settlement of
Alaska, and thanked California for its decision to preserve Fort
Ross. He said that cooperation in such areas as culture and
technology needed a push, not only from national but also from
regional governments. DFM Ryabkov also suggested that RAPP
could become a forum for legal matters and could help small- and
medium-sized companies get to know local government. He argued
that the main message from RAPP was that the U.S.-Russia
relationship was vast and multi-faceted.

Ambassador Talks of Cooperation

5. (SBU) In a prerecorded statement the Ambassador Beyrle
emphasized the "vital links" between the U.S. and Russia.
Reminding the audience that the Twenty-First Century is to be
the "Pacific Century," he said that the U.S. and Russia will
certainly grow closer. He stated that Alaska already enjoyed
cooperation with Kamchatka and Chukotka, while Montana and
Magadan enjoyed close ties. In addition, Boeing provided
assistance to Sukhoi as it built its Superjet 100 aircraft in
Komsomolsk-na-Amure. The Ambassador also pushed for more direct
flights between the U.S. and the Russian Far East (RFE). To
conclude his RAPP video, the Ambassador stated that when the
U.S. and Russia work together, they can achieve anything.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
Consul General on the Importance of Having Good Lawyers
--------------------------------------------- ----------

6. (SBU) Vladivostok Consul General Armbruster urged investors
exploring opportunities in Russia to be aware of the risks
involved and to hire a good lawyer. "Optimists build airplanes,

VLADIVOSTO 00000114 002.3 OF 003

pessimists make parachutes," he said, arguing that both were
needed. U.S. companies investing in Russia should work to build
close, personal relationships with their customers and local
governments. Companies that follow this advice tend to do well,
although some companies, such as Global Forestry Management,
have had serious problems.

7. (SBU) CG Armbruster also praised the U.S.-Russia military
relationship, pointing specifically to the September 16-18 visit
of the Coast Guard's U.S.S. SYCAMORE to Vladivostok and the
Symposium on Northeast Asia Security, hosted in Vladivostok
September 14-16, as tangible evidence of this. He also praised
Sakhalin for hosting RAPP four times, and urged other Russian
cities to host the event as well. Finally, Consul General
called for less talk and more action.

EUR/RUS Director Says Washington Backs Reset

8. (SBU) EUR/RUS Director Kyle Scott reminded the audience that
President Obama had favored "resetting" relations with Russia as
early as December 2008. The July summit underscored the reset
and emphasized the desire of both sides to work on important
issues. The transit of lethal goods to Afghanistan and the port
visit of the U.S.S. SYCAMORE were both signs that the reset was

9. (SBU) Scott continued by saying the U.S.-Russia Bilateral
Presidential Commission would like to strengthen trade ties
between the two countries. U.S.-Russia trade amounted to only
USD 36 billion, making the U.S. Russia's 17th largest market,
while Russia was the U.S.'s 28th largest market. Fora such as
RAPP also helped strengthen trade ties. He added that some U.S.
companies that started in Western Russia have since expanded
operations to the RFE.

We Were Optimists Once...

10. (SBU) Deputy Plenipotentiary Representative of the President
of Russia in the Far Eastern Federal District Aleksandr Levintal
said that after the fall of Communism many in Russia were
optimists. The economic crisis in 1998, however, changed that.
The end of direct flights to the U.S. isolated the RFE even
more. The U.S. and Russia now had to work hard to improve ties,
he said. For its part, the GOR showed great interest in the
RFE, and both Medvedev and Putin have visited the region often.
The RFE, he said, should work to build the forestry, mining,
aircraft, ship building, oil, and gas industries, while building
up infrastructure, including the Vostochniy Cosmodrome.

ECON Counselor Pushes for More Cooperation

11. (SBU) Embassy Moscow ECON Counselor said that the U.S.
wanted a strong, prosperous, and peaceful Russia, and so the USG
and GOR were looking for ways to expand economic cooperation and
build prosperity. He praised Medvedev's "Go Russia" article and
said that Russia indeed needed an "intelligent economy" instead
of one based on natural resources such as oil and gas. He said
that RAPP, along with other fora such as the Sakhalin Oil and
Gas Conference, helped the U.S. and Russia exchange views and
develop better products and services.

RAPP Fosters Growth

12. (SBU) RAPP Meeting Co-Chair and Deputy Director of the
Ministry of Economic Development's Department of the Americas
Dmitriy Sazhin said that RAPP has fostered economic growth in
the RFE and the Western U.S. over the past 14 years. The U.S.,
according to Sazhin was a "leading partner" of Russia. He
lamented that Russia still sold mostly raw materials while the
U.S. focused on exporting finished goods.

13. (SBU) RAPP Meeting Co-Chair and Director of the U.S.
Department of Commerce's Office of Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia
Jack Brougher reiterated Commerce Secretary Locke's statement
that free trade is invaluable to economic growth. Both the U.S.
and Russia pledged to avoid protectionism during the financial
crisis, and this has helped, he said. Fora such RAPP, he said,
strengthened economic ties between the U.S. and Russia. He said

VLADIVOSTO 00000114 003.3 OF 003

the U.S. had invested USD 20 billion in Russia, while Russia
invested USD 5 billion in the United States. The U.S., he
added, would like to see Russia more integrated into the world
economy by joining such organizations as the World Trade
Organization. This would in turn boost economic growth in
Russia. He also pushed for better protection of intellectual
property rights (IPR), as IPR violations cost the U.S. about USD
200-250 billion each year.

--------------------------------------------- ----
The U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission
--------------------------------------------- ----

14. (SBU) In a panel discussion on the U.S.-Russia Bilateral
Presidential Commission, participants argued that the
Commission's working groups must discuss issues relevant to
Russia's regions and U.S. states. This would help businesses
grow and spur investment in these areas, it was argued. The
Commission's working groups should also report on the progress
of their work regularly if they are to be effective. EUR/RUS
Director Scott mentioned, however, that thus far the USG had not
allocated any additional resources for the work of the

15. (SBU) Panel members urged the U.S. and Russia to encourage
youth exchanges and study abroad programs so citizens of both
countries could gain exposure to each other's cultures early.
They also said the U.S. and Russia should have joint
celebrations for the sixty-fifth anniversary of the end of World
War II, and warned against "distorting history" for political

Russian Regions Seek Investment

16. (SBU) Kamchatka Region's Minister of Investment and
Entrepreneurship Development Oksana Gerasimova said 40 percent
of all tourists to Kamchatka come from the United States. She
also praised the region's natural resources and beauty, and said
sportsmen, such as hunters, were welcome.

17. (SBU) Magadan Region's Head of Representation to the Far
Eastern Federal District Leonid Ivanyuta argued that "resetting"
the U.S.-Russia relationship was impossible without including
Russia's regions. The U.S., he said, was Magadan's second most
important trading partner, accounting for USD 257 million in
trade. Magadan imported a lot of agricultural machinery and
exported a lot of metal, he said. Ivanyuta also extolled the
virtues of Magadan's special economic zone and customs and tax

18. (SBU) Ivanyuta talked up Magadan's natural resources such as
gold, silver, iron ore, and semiprecious gems. Mining,
fisheries, explosives, and power generation, including a 500
megawatt power plant planned to come online in 2012, were also
important to the region, he said.

19. (SBU) Khabarovsk Region's Deputy Minister of Industry,
Transportation, and Foreign Relations Sergey Zrazhevskiy said
that his region had the lowest investment risk in the RFE in
2008. Foreign trade, however, accounted for only 3 percent of
the region's income, he said. He pointed out, however, that
Boeing assisted Sukhoi in manufacturing the Superjet 100 in
Komsomolsk-na-Amure, and the region would welcome similar joint
projects and investment.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Europe Dries Up
Scenes and pictures have been circulating of broken earth, lacking moisture, cracked and yearning. But these are not from traditional drought-stricken parts of the planet, where the animal carcass assumes near totemic power... More>>

UN: Bachelet Alarmed By Number Of Palestinian Children Killed In Latest Escalation

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet today expressed alarm at the high number of Palestinians, including children, killed and injured in the occupied Palestinian territory this year, including in intense hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza last weekend... More>>

Save The Children: One Year Under Taliban Rule, Girls Are More Isolated, Hungry, Sad: New Report
One year since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, an economic crisis, crippling drought and new restrictions have shattered girls’ lives, excluding them from society and leaving them hungry...

Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>

Singapore: UN Experts Call For Immediate Moratorium On Executions For Drug Offences

UN experts* today condemned the execution of Nazeri Bin Lajim, a 64-year-old Malay Singaporean national convicted of drug offenses and urged the Government of Singapore to halt plans to execute individuals on death row for drug related charges... More>>