Modernization Hub

Modernization and Improvement


But having been involved in this relationship
for over 36 years, they are more than the sum of their parts. And if you think I’m exaggerating and overstating
the case, consider the following statistics — or polling. In December of 2008 — December
of 2008, one month before we were sworn in as President and Vice President, polling showed
that only 17 percent of all Russians had a positive opinion of the United States —
17 percent. This year, that number has jumped to over 60 percent. Our goal is to have it
continue to climb. That same year, Americans ranked Russia as
one of the top five countries threatening American security — two years ago. This year,
only 2 percent of the entire American population say they view Russia as a threat. All of this
leads to one very important conclusion in the mind of one Vice President that I think
is now beyond dispute: the reset is working. Working for all of us, working for Russia.
And I would presumptuously suggest working for the world. But there is still, still much work to be
done to enhance our security cooperation and our closeness. On the Caucasus — we have a genuine disagreement
not only with your leadership but with the vast majority of the Russian people over Georgia.
But there’s a larger principle at stake here in our view — and I want to be straightforward
because if friends cannot be straightforward with friends, it really isn’t friendship
based on mutual trust. We think there’s a larger principle at stake
here. As I said when I announced the reset at Munich I said, “It will remain our view
that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances.” And further: “We will not recognize any
state having a sphere of influence.” And almost regardless of the difficulty, we don’t
support any state deciding through force changing the leadership of an elected — democratically
elected individual. We have also worked closely, though, with
both Russia and Georgia to reduce the threat of further conflict. As a result, Georgia
recently restarted its commitment — restated its commitment to non-use of first use of
— non-use of force, and commercial flights have resumed between Moscow and Tbilisi. But
we must do more to assist those displaced by the 2008 conflict and enable normal travel
and commerce to occur. Our joint diplomacy was essential and is essential
in ending conflicts in other areas. Excuse me — Nagorno-Karabakh, where I would again
commend President Medvedev for his tireless work for a peaceful and permanent settlement
there. But the next frontier in our relationship
-— and the main area in my view and the President of the United States’ view of
future opportunities and challenges -— will be building stronger ties of trade and
commerce that match the security cooperation we have accomplished over the last two years
and hopefully will continue to grow. In the 20th Century, the wealth of a nation
was measured by the abundance of its natural resources, the expanse of its landmass or
the size of its army. Russia had all of those things. But in the 21st Century, the true wealth of
a nation is found in the creative minds of its people and their ability to innovate.
There, too, Russia is remarkably blessed. Unleashing Russia’s full potential will
be a boon and an opportunity not only for the United States and for Russians, but again
for international commerce and peace and justice. Already, our economic relationship is moving
to center stage. Pepsico has made a multi-billion dollar investment in Russia — Russia’s
leading juice and dietary producer. Imagine five years ago, the likelihood that an American
company could buy, in effect, the largest of anything in Russia. Chevron and ExxonMobil recently announced
major new deals with Russian partners. General Electric is undertaking a major expansion
of its operations here. And John Deere last year opened a major manufacturing center in
Moscow — in the Moscow region -— and is already — I met with the President — I think
he may be here — yesterday — they’re already doubling its capacity and as a consequence,
employment. And Alcoa is working closely — very closely
— with a nanotechnology firm, Rusnano, on an array of high-tech products that are the
future. This week a coalition of public and private
sector partners in Russia and the U.S. announced a new program, as well, supported by an American
company, Johnson & Johnson. That program will provide pregnant women and new mothers with
health information via text messages -— a great example of how civil society, government,
and the private sector can work together to find innovative solutions to shared challenges
— real challenges to real people, ordinary people. And just yesterday, I witnessed the signing
of a $2 billion sale of eight Boeing 777 aircraft to Aeroflot, expanding last year’s agreement
to sell 50 737s to Russian Technologies. These contracts were able to be done and the plane
was able to be built I might add because of Russian titanium, ingenuity and the engineers
here; as well as the brilliant engineers and workface back in the United States. These
contracts will create or sustain tens of thousands of jobs in Russia and in the United States. On his visit to Silicon Valley last year,
President Medvedev made clear Russia’s desire to bolster our partnership in the innovation
economy -— a priority the United States shares, and the President of the United States
has announced as the hallmark of what we’re attempting to do. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to — Skolkovo
— to be in Skolkovo — a high-tech hub on the outskirts of Moscow that has the promise
of becoming the Silicon Valley of Russia. Closer cooperation will allow American companies
to benefit from greater access to Russia’s deep pool of talented engineers, mathematicians
and computer scientists. Mr. President, if you’ll forgive me to
— I will not mention the context, but yesterday we had this discussion — a roundtable discussion
of American businesses and CEOs from Russian business. A Russian businessman said something
that was true. He said the reason why it’s good to be here in Russia and investing —
the United States — is because of its market. An interesting comment from the chairman of
the board of Boeing in Russia, he said, with all due respect to my good friend, that may
be true, but that’s not the reason we’re here. Other countries have four, five, six
and seven times the capacity to purchase our planes in terms of their needs. But we’re
here. He said let me tell you why we’re here. We’re here because the best engineers
in the world are here. Many educated at this great university. We’re also providing — not as a gift. When
I say providing it sounds like we’re providing a gift — we’re also — American venture
capitalists and other foreign investment is flowing into the Russia’s economy to allow
it to diversify beyond your abundant natural resources — metals, oil and gas — and help
Russia — Russian start-ups get their ideas to market. Those of you who are studying business know
that it’s one thing to have an idea, it’s another thing to get to market. It takes people
willing to make a gamble, make an investment, make a bet. Already, several of America’s leading firms
have shown their support for this vision, by committing to invest in the case of several
venture capitalists over $1 billion dollars — already committed — investing in Russian
high-tech industry. But despite these steps, our trading and investment
relationship is not what it should be. As a matter of fact, it was higher years ago
than it is now. Russia was America’s 37th largest export market in 2010. The value of
the goods that cross our border, the United States border with Canada and Mexico every
few days exceeds the annual value of our trade with Russia. We’ve got to do better. We’ve
got to do better. And I believe we can. This is one of the reasons the President and
I so strongly support Russians accession to the World Trade Organization. Accession will
enable Russia to deepen its trade relations not only with the United States, but the rest
of the world. And it will give American companies a greater and more predictable — important
word, predictable — access to Russia’s growing markets, expanding both U.S. exports
and employment. The renewed energy that Russian negotiators
have brought to the table in this accession effort and Moscow’s political will to get
the job done are for the first time in a long time genuinely moving things forward. We’re making progress on these issues that
have caused so much friction in the past. We’re making progress on agricultural trade,
sanitary regulations, enforcement of intellectual property rights, though we still have more
work to do. So let me make this as clear as I possibly
can: President Obama and I strongly support and want to see Russia in WTO. We’ve made
that clear to the Congress; we’ve made that clear the world; and we’ve made that clear
to anybody who is willing to listen. It’s better for America — and presumptuous
of me to say this, never tell another man his business or another country their interest
— but it’s better for America, and I believe better for Russia to be able to trade with
each other under predictable and transparent rules. And that’s also why we’re going
to work with Congress to terminate the Jackson-Vanik amendment. These steps are critical components to our
Administration’s trade agenda. There used to be a bank robber in America in the ‘30s.
His name was Willie Sutton. And they once asked Willie Sutton, why do you rob banks,
Willie. He said, that’s where the money is. (Laughter.) We’re not doing Russia a
favor. This is in the overall best interest, we think, of Russia, but we know for the United
States. We know for our unemployment — our employment to grow, trade, exports have to
grow as well. So we expect Russia’s leaders to continue
working with us to move the processes along. But you in this room know as well as anyone
that even if liberalizing our trading relationship, Russia’s business and legal climate quite
frankly is going to have to continue to improve because right now for many companies it presents
a fundamental obstacle. In early 2008, President Medvedev described
Russia as, and I quote, “a country of legal nihilism,” — not my quote, his quote —
and he prescribed a set of reforms. The simple fact is this: Pragmatic businessmen,


  1. Are they runing together in Russia next? This speech also sounds very familiar. Where did he get his facts about the US and Russia being threats to eachother?

  2. and folks made a big deal about the republicans picking Palin. This guy is the worst, it is scary he is able to speak and spread his nutty agenda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *