US-Russia working group

Andrei Slepnev

Andrei Slepnev

Michelle O'Neill, US Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Andrei Slepnev, Deputy Economic Minister of Russia, took part in the negotiations.

In the words of Andrei Slepnev:

"Apparently, boosting cooperation between Russia and the US is an important part of the two countries' policy, with trade and economic ties taking priority. We certainly believe that is the case, and thanks to this approach the negotiations were successful and productive.

"From the start, we agreed that we will work on a positive agenda. This became the common approach for us and our partners, and we were determined not to slip into negative accusations against each other. It is this positive approach that is the main achievement arising from the meeting.

"We reached agreement on several priority issues. The first includes joint projects to modernise our economies. We believe that over the next few years both the Russian and American economies should rise to a qualitatively new level, developing in line with new technologies. First of all, we need to incorporate the green economic principles determined by the Kyoto and post-Kyoto agreements. Other important issues include energy efficiency and development of new technology such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and a new level of IT.

"The second aspect covers cooperation in the small and medium-sized business sector, including innovative projects. Americans have vast experience in applying innovation in a small business environment, and they know how to commercialise innovation. In turn, we have a huge number of excellent projects initiated over the years that have yet to be put to commercial use.

"The third aspect regards the investment climate. We are interested in having a very clear and transparent investment environment, and we welcome all reasonable proposals coming from practice.

"Along with those prospective issues we also discussed more urgent matters, such as mutual access to markets. I think all claims and disputes will be easier to resolve based on joint efforts.

"We agreed to focus on projects that can produce clear and palpable results over the next 1.5-2 years. It is important for us to learn how to work together and achieve joint success. We are prepared for close cooperation with the business community, both Russian and American, and we hope for a positive reaction from the business communities in both countries.

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