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19/iun/2010 Rusia schimbă tonul – şi se străduieşte să atragă investiţii străine

Russia Steps Up Effort to Woo Foreign Investors


ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — President Dmitri A. Medvedev set out on Friday to woo overseas investors at his country’s largest foreign investment forum, a sharp contrast to previous years.

At past meetings of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Mr. Medvedev assailed the dollar as a global currency, and his predecessor, Vladimir V. Putin, criticized the International Monetary Fund as a tool of developed nations.

But on Friday, Mr. Medvedev described in the most detail yet an emerging policy to diversify Russia’s economy away from oil by developing a high-technology sector with foreign investment.

A need to maintain close ties with Western countries and businessmen to attract technology and expertise has been a recurring theme recently for his presidency.

A foreign-policy document leaked to the Russian version of Newsweek recently raised arguments for improving ties with the United States and European Union with the goal of easing technology transfer to Russia.

On Friday, Mr. Medvedev said he had good news for the chief executives gathered at the forum and described how Russia would seek to improve the climate for foreign investments. “We changed,” Mr. Medvedev said.

Economic diversification has been a top priority for Russia, the world’s largest energy-exporting nation, since its oil-dependent economy faltered in the autumn of 2008, though there have been few results so far. What is new is the policy of linking the goals of diversification and modernization with improved access for foreign investors.

“Creating a comfortable climate for investors is essentially our most important task,” Mr. Medvedev said. “These are the goals of our modernization.”

Mr. Medvedev said Russia would cut capital gains taxes, reform white-collar criminal law and privatize state enterprises, all to make the country more attractive to investors in sectors other than the boom-and-bust oil and mining industries.

The government, he said, would reduce the number of wholly owned state companies to 159 from 230, though this reform would not cover the largest state companies like Gazprom because they already had private shareholders. Mr. Medvedev noted changes in legislation requiring prosecutorial oversight of police enforcement of financial crime, apparently intended to curb widespread police corruption.

“Russia should become an attractive country,” Mr. Medvedev said. “People from around the world will go here in search of their dreams and search for better opportunities for success and self-fulfillment.”

Mr. Medvedev, a former law professor and corporate lawyer, has shown a greater inclination to foster private business than his predecessor, who is now prime minister. Mr. Putin oversaw a partial nationalization of the oil industry and is still the final arbiter of economic policy.

As if to underscore that point, Mr. Putin announced on Friday new supports for the domestic banking sector and, while visiting factories in a rust-belt area of Russia, suggested he would help them by reviewing import duties on heavy machinery.

All the same, businessmen greeted Mr. Medvedev’s sunny speech as a welcome pitch to foreign investors from a government known more for its cold shoulder, made plausible by the government’s need for an infusion of expertise in running technology enterprises.

“International investors are engaging, and being engaged,” Darrell Stanaford, the director in Russia for CB Richard Ellis, the global real estate firm, said.

– text publicat în ziarul The New York Times, 19 iunie a.c.


19 iunie 2010 - Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , ,

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