News / Europe

    Deal by Deal, Russia Building Ties with Asia

    Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) greets China's President Hu Jintao upon his arrival at the APEC Summit in Vladivostok, September 8, 2012.
    Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) greets China's President Hu Jintao upon his arrival at the APEC Summit in Vladivostok, September 8, 2012.
    James Brooke
    Chinese President Hu Jintao announced Saturday more than $150 billion in spending on infrastructure projects as part of efforts to boost Chinese and world economic growth.

    President Hu, speaking in Vladivostok at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, said the billions would be spent on roads, railroads, farming, and energy projects.

    The meeting of 21 member economies in the Russian port city was dominated by calls to boost infrastructure spending to cut transportation bottlenecks in Asia.

    The Chinese leader said the infrastructure spending would help boost China’s internal demand, and allow China to import an extra $10 trillion worth of foreign goods through 2015. Economists forecast that Chinese economic growth will dip this year to 7.5 percent, China’s weakest rate in 13 years.

    "To strengthen infrastructure development is key to promoting recovery and achieving sustained and stable growth,” Hu said.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, meets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 8, 2012.Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, meets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 8, 2012.
    x
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, meets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 8, 2012.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, meets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 8, 2012.
    At the same meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Russia’s entry last month into the World Trade Organization - a process that took 20 years.

    “The World Bank estimates that, by effectively implementing its WTO commitments, Russia could increase its GDP by about 3 percent in the medium term, and as much as 11 percent over the long run,” Clinton said. “So it pays to join the rules-based trading system.  Russia’s trading partners stand to benefit as well.  American exports to Russia could double or even triple.”

    Secretary Clinton said that during the first three years of the Obama Administration, American exports to APEC nations increased by 45 percent.

    The close American presidential race prevented President Obama from joining the 20 heads of government gathered in Vladivostok.

    Clinton, the highest ranking American here, vowed to push the U.S. Congress to drop Soviet-era restrictions on trade with Russia.

    “To make sure our companies get to compete on a level playing field here in Russia, we are working closely with the U.S. Congress to terminate the application of Jackson-Vanik to Russia and grant Russian Permanent Normalized Trade Relations,” Clinton said.

    In the halls, executives of American companies that export to Russia, such as Caterpillar and John Deere, said that lack of action by Congress put them at a disadvantage to exporters from other countries.

    Edward Verona, president of the U.S.-Russia Business Council, predicted that Congress will act by the end of this month. But he also predicted that Congress would simultaneously vote to bar suspected human rights violators from receiving American visas. This could deny visas to about 60 Russian officials suspected of covering up the 2009 killing in a Moscow jail of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for an American-controlled investment fund.

    “It’s a foregone conclusion that there will be a Magnitsky component to the PNTR legislation,” Verona said.

    Russian officials have threatened to retaliate if the United States imposes a visa ban list in the Magnitsky case, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov downplayed the issue on Saturday.

    Talking to reporters after meeting with Clinton, Lavrov said the Magnitsky list did not come up. He added: "We are not going to take interest in the contents of some lists, which have nothing to do with the real problems of high-profile proceedings and an investigation, which the Russian Federation is conducting.”

    Russians and Americans found common ground on agreeing with the other 19 nations at the meeting to slash to token levels import barriers on 54 “green technologies.” These technologies include equipment used for recycling, saving energy, treating waste water and generating power from such renewable sources as the sun, wind and biomass.

    “I am proud that here in Vladivostok, we have agreed to cap tariffs on more than 50 environmental goods, which will help encourage the development of clean technologies and greener growth across the region,” Clinton said.

    Traditional energies were also the focus of attention at the regional economic summit.

    Officials from Japan and Gazprom, Russia’s gas giant, signed a preliminary agreement on construction near Vladivostok of a $13 billion liquefied natural gas plant and shipping port. At the same time, Russian officials say that by the end of this year their Siberian oil export pipeline will reach Kozimo, a terminus on the Sea of Japan.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Zoljargal from: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    September 10, 2012 7:17 AM
    It is nice to hear that China is gonna strengthen its infrastrusture around years and top leaders have agreed to cap tariff on environmental goods, which help encourage the development of clean technologies and greener growth across the region.

    Besides, i wanna comment my opinion about Russia. I think, Russia seems like still exists Soviet-era's rules and restrictions in all framework of society, including trade. They dont know international trading rules and standart based trading system. They dont like somebody speak english instead of russia, they believe Russia is number one country in the world which is not true in reality for sure. Recent years in Russia, the number of people who cannot buy any goods that costs at least 4 dollor have sharply arisen as some of salesperson mentioned to me.

    by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, USA
    September 08, 2012 6:20 PM
    Vladimir Putin had it tough with the Europeans about the Russian gas supplies; about the Russian human rights issues; about the planned Missile Shield building threat to force him into other Western concessions, and about the Western efforts to bust his ally Bashar Assad! He decided to turn East where those countries want to do business, and mind their own business - not Russia's! In short, there was a tough going with the U.S. and its European allies, whom he had called [U.S.] "vassals" in his 2008 European Conference, and now he sees "the grass as greener" on Asia's East and Southeast.

    Obviously Putin had had enough with the Europeans, and decided to make a U-turn. He has already finished gas and crude pipelines to the East and to China; he has finished new bridges and highways, and now he is looking for "non-string attached" deals to reduce his market dependency on the Western neighbors. Putin also wants out of the hoops of the U.S. congress on various WTO trade issues, and the opening to the East markets offer him the flexibility to thwart or minimize any U.S. anti-Russian legislation! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

    by: almoros idriss from: Cameroon
    September 08, 2012 1:40 PM
    Great News and Message of Great Hope! Thank you the brilliant, secretary Hillary Clinton, president Putin and Chinese President Hu!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora