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Forum Opening Ceremony
24 May 2018
13:00—14:00
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Trust between countries, and the pursuit of dialogue are key components for developing business the world over

The theme for this year’s Forum is ‘Building a Trust Economy’. [...] We are willing to engage in a frank dialogue, to establish mutually beneficial relations based on trust, and to create – and restore – positive partnerships with the leading players in the global economy. It is trust, it is compliance with agreements, which form crucial components for developing business — Georgy Poltavchenko, Governor of St. Petersburg.

We at the United Nations view the notion of an economy of trust as not only a geo-political and a business dimension. Clearly, for nations to trade, for business to succeed, for commerce to have a stable economy and global political situation, we need an economy of trust — Achim Steiner, Administrator, The United Nations Development Programme.

We need to identify shared themes, and we need dialogue. This will be one of the conditions by which we will be able to remove the barriers which are beginning to dominate economic discussions – be they sanctions, or protectionism. [...] Trust in the international arena serves as a guarantee of sustainable economic development, and of eliminating the negativity which we are currently witnessing in the form of protectionism and restrictions in global trade — Anton Siluanov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation .

Trust is crucial to building relations, including relations in trade, economics, and investment. When there is trust between the government, the people, and the business community, it becomes possible to develop trade and cooperation. This helps create the conditions by which each country – and the entire globe – can develop. [...] We therefore applaud the theme of this year’s Forum — Nguyen Van Binh, Member of the Politburo, Secretary of the Central Committee, Head of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs.

We are in fact against protectionism and in favour of multilateralism. Today, trust plays a vital role — Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.

Trust carries fundamental meaning, particularly for our countries, whose economies are insufficiently developed. [...] Today there is a feeling amongst us that global trade is developing in a way that ignores the interests of the African continent. [...] Today, I believe that it is vital for the world to become fairer, for the world to take developing countries into consideration. These countries are equally in need of transformation, and of processing their resources and raw materials in order that they may engage in trade in the global economy — Faustin Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic.

The global economy has strengthened in recent years

It is my great privilege and honour to represent Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, who has requested me to convey to you a message of greetings. [...] It is a pleasure to greet the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. This year’s Forum takes place at a moment when the global economy has strengthened, creating a more positive backdrop to policymaking compared to what has prevailed for much of the past decade — Achim Steiner, Administrator, The United Nations Development Programme.

The positive growth rates in the global economy are breaking records. We have heard the IMF has forecasted growth of just under 4% for this year. That is a high rate — Anton Siluanov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation .

2018 is a great year for the economy. It is the first time in 10 years that global major economies are showing growth. It is the broadest synchronized global upsurge encompassing virtually every major economy — Susan Li, International Anchor.

ISSUES
Continuing high levels of economic inequality and political instability

We have seen a rise in risks, and notably increased tensions surrounding trade and geopolitics. [...] Political instability also remains a fundamental obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. [...] Given the global nature of today’s challenges, this trust must be built at a multilateral level — Achim Steiner, Administrator, The United Nations Development Programme.

Inequality and disparity means that riches are not being distributed equally between our countries. The African economy accounts for around 5% of total global trade. Eighty per cent of African exports consist of raw materials, agricultural goods, forest products, and oil — Faustin Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic.

Sanctions and protectionist measures are exerting a negative effect on economic growth for a number of countries

The sanctions imposed on a number of countries – Russia included – are primarily protectionist in nature: they put their own manufacturers at an advantage to the detriment of their partners, and to the detriment of the rules of world trade — Anton Siluanov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation .

From an economic point of view, we are undergoing a process of important transformation. I should note that all of this is happening in a very complex economic environment. As you are aware, Cuba has been subjected to an economic and financial blockade by the United States for over 60 years — Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.

SOLUTIONS
Measures to strengthen the economy and protect business at a time of sanctions

Despite all the restrictive measures in place, our main objective right now is to achieve higher economic growth rates and bring them up to global levels. In line with this, the Russian Government is currently drawing up a course of action with the aim of boosting investment activity, improving the social security system, and achieving higher rates of economic growth. [...] We have opened up our country, instituted more liberal regimes, and provided support to companies which have experienced difficulties due to the sanctions. Without a doubt, times have become rather more complicated, but this has had the reverse effect, and we are seeing a new quality of growth, and new solutions, both to improve the business climate in Russia, and to create the best possible conditions for entrepreneurs here — Anton Siluanov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation .

Further development of bilateral ties between countries

Bilateral relations with Russia have played a major role over the years.” Today, Russian companies have a stake in some of the Cuban economy’s most important sectors – energy, transport, and manufacturing. There is now a proposal for our pharmaceutical industry to participate more actively in the Russian market — Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.

We hold Russia dear to our hearts, and we support the comprehensive strategic partnership between our countries — Nguyen Van Binh, Member of the Politburo, Secretary of the Central Committee, Head of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS