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Opening remarks at meeting with Vietnamese and Russian businesspeople

October 31, 2010, Hanoi

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, colleagues, friends,

Today is a truly important day in Russian-Vietnamese relations. Mr President and I held talks and we signed a large number of documents, first and foremost concerning economic matters. We are meeting here following the completion of the 2nd ASEAN-Russia summit, and this means that Russia is truly going to engage in the Asia-Pacific region where we already have some key partners, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is one of them.

We have long-standing ties, historic bonds, relations which span over decades of history and which initiated during the most difficult and dramatic period in Vietnam’s history. Such historic moments are certainly unforgettable, but even as we remember what happened all that time ago, we must look toward the future. Now, the future means developing economic cooperation, and all of you present in this hall are the very people who will advance such cooperation.

We would like this cooperation not to be limited only to projects in the energy sector. Granted, they are very important, and we have a very good history in this sector, as we have been jointly extracting and selling hydrocarbons. I think this area of cooperation will continue to be very important for a long time to come. Today, we signed an agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, on building the first nuclear power plant in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. This is a landmark event, and in my view, it is very important both for Vietnam’s interests, and the interests of Russian businesspeople, the Russian business community.

We are looking toward the future, and the future will be linked to high technologies. So today, we signed a whole set of documents in this sector. I hope that you will tell us today how we should cooperate in this area, especially since both Russia and Vietnam are shaping modern economies, paying attention to new industries. Indeed, investments in this sector are extremely important.

Last year was truly difficult for everyone because of the crisis. This year is somewhat better, as evidenced by the growth in trade between Russia and Vietnam. Our bilateral trade reached one billion dollars over the first half of the year alone, and I suppose that we will be able to reach somewhere around two billion by the year end. We have also set targets for 2012 and through 2020, which I believe we will reach.

But in addition to trade growth, there is another indicator that is no less important: the inflow of investments, as well as the scope of Russian investments into Vietnam’s economy and vice versa. Unfortunately, we do not yet have much to brag about in this respect, as Russia is still fairly low on the list of nations investing in Vietnam – it is twenty-something on that list. In my view, this is precisely the area where we must focus our efforts, the efforts of the Russian state and the Vietnamese state, the efforts of Russian businesses and Vietnamese businesses.

You, as businesspeople, understand for yourselves that investments mean long-term relationships, rather than sporadic or volatile trade transactions, although trade is certainly very essential too. What is now required is favourable investment climate and new investment projects in, evidently, the energy sector, the oil production, and the nuclear sector, which I already mentioned. Still, we would like to launch new projects in other sectors too, and that is the subject we addressed today. There should be new projects in various industries, machine-building, and medical technologies. Russia wishes to see broader presence of Russian vehicles, aircraft, and buses in Vietnam. We would welcome launching respective assembly facilities here as well. Still, that is only one example of our potential that could be developed.

Overall, in describing growth rates in our economic cooperation, I would certainly say that we are satisfied with the progress.

In spite of our busy schedules, Mr President and I visited a joint Russian-Vietnamese bank, which is also significant. Financial infrastructure is a prerequisite for promoting major economic projects. Thus, our future cooperation must include a financial aspect, an industrial aspect, high technologies and, I suppose, other infrastructure projects.

I hope that you will be able to come to an agreement on all of these matters within the framework of this business forum. I would like to thank the organisers of the forum, our chambers of commerce and industry, and everyone who is participating in this event today.

I want to wish you success, as well as impressive and interesting plans and new objectives, including investment objectives, and good profits of course.

Thank you.

October 31, 2010, Hanoi