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Medvedev chairs meeting on support for high-tech exports

Medvedev chaired a meeting on support for high-tech exports.

Opening remarks by Dmitry Medvedev:

Good afternoon! We are meeting today to discuss exports - how we can support high-tech exports. I won’t explain why we should do this. Everybody understands why. We discussed these issues in a specific context at the Government meeting on March 7 when looking into the state programme Promoting Foreign Economic Activity. Improving Russia’s export capacity by increasing the share of high-tech and research-intensive products is our national strategy. The Government’s task is to provide for 60%-70% growth of non-energy exports within five years.

Creating favorable conditions for exporters is global practice. And this is not our strong point, we have to admit - in any case, if we compare our capabilities with those of some of our neighbors who are actively working on this. This also relates to access to long-term and easy loans, insurance support, and guaranteed state support for export loans. I repeat, we are considerably below foreign countries in terms of the scale of decisions we make and the quality of services offered in this country. Our goal is to provide state financial support for at least 13%-15% of Russian exports of non-energy products by 2018. I recall that this support amounted to 0.5% in 2011.

These funds should be used for specific, thoroughly designed projects and be based on regional and industry-related priorities. The newly created Export Insurance Agency called EXIAR is a key element of the export support system. We recently discussed the opportunities afforded by this agency at a Government meeting.

I was told that the agency provided support to 15 export projects worth half a billion dollars. Is that correct, Mr Belousov?

Andrei Belousov (Minister of Economic Development): Yes, it is.

Dmitry Medvedev: We have another 40 projects on track worth over $3 billion. Allow me to say a few words about our future work.

First, I’d like to say a few words about the prospects of our high-tech exports. Of course, they should not be determined only by our financial capabilities. Relying solely on public funds would be wrong and short-sighted. Our prospects in this area directly depend on the innovation process and our enterprises, as well as the institutional changes that we are in the process of making. In simple terms, we should have a clear understanding of what we can sell on global markets. Almost all state industrial programmes set specific guidelines on export-oriented output. Of course, we should be prepared to operate in a highly competitive environment. We should offer foreign consumers more than just advanced designs. Our offers must be attractively priced as well. There’s no way around it.

There are different ways to support high-tech exports. For example, when you import sophisticated equipment from some countries, you also have to buy appropriate quality components, modules and parts that are produced by Russian companies. Of course, we are talking about competitive products and facilities that are manufactured using high-tech processes. However, I believe that this subject deserves more thorough consideration.

We need to continue reducing the cost and the time involved in administrative procedures given the high degree of processing. We need to provide easier access to lending resources and warranty services, eliminate redundant customs procedures and improve currency and export controls. In cases where it’s appropriate - I emphasize the word "appropriate" - the list of warranty-covered risks should be expanded to include not only sovereign risks, but also regional, municipal, and corporate risks. Caution is advised here so as not to unbalance the system in the process.

More flexible lending and warranty support should be available for high-priority export destinations and product groups. We need to be more active in multilateral export projects which involve Russian companies.

The second point I’d like to make is that in building our comprehensive support system we should incorporate international experience and consider international standards and rules, including WTO and OECD restrictions on direct subsidies of agriculture and industry. We should take into account the decisions we have made for the Common Economic Space, and we must also finish making the necessary amendments to our legislation.

The third point I’d like to make is that Russian businesses and our potential foreign partners should have access to all modern insurance and loan products. In addition, we should introduce specialised financial services, taking into account the interests of companies that make research-intensive products. Investment companies should take part in these efforts along with anyone who works on innovative products, as well as small and medium business. I’m referring to granting comprehensive credit lines, expanding pre-export loans, using factoring and some other mechanisms. We are implementing a number of such projects. Suffice it to mention the Sukhoi Superject 100 project being carried out by Vnesheconombank. We should think about using such mechanisms in other deals and for other products.

And last but not the least we must ensure coordination and smooth cooperation between different ministries and our companies as well as their foreign missions. We must make use of development institutions and ensure the broadest possible involvement of high-tech exporters.