Transcript of the news conference of Chief of the Presidential Experts’ Directorate and the Russian G20 Sherpa Ksenia Yudaeva and Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Storchak following the conference "Fostering Economic Growth and Sustainability" devoted to the priorities of the Russian G20 presidency.
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Ksenia Yudaeva: Dear colleagues, we are glad to welcome you at this conference. I believe all welcoming words have already been said. So you're welcome with your questions, please.
Question: Could you please tell us about how you are going to consider the interests of your CIS colleagues and whether you are going to invite them to take part in the conferences?
Ksenia Yudaeva: I believe that you will learn the news about inviting our CIS colleagues in the near future. But as regards broader cooperation with CIS countries, as well as other countries, we will have some active outreach program, and as part of the outreach strategy we will cooperate both in invitations and during visits and discussions. Mr Storchak wants to add.
Sergei Storchak: You know very well that the financial regulation issue plays a key role that in the framework of G20, and the Financial Stability Board has the responsibility for this. Tomorrow, there will be a regular meeting of the board's group for CIS in Moscow and deputies of national banks will attend. We will review the last developments in financial stability and tell them our agenda in financial regulation, and will listen to their information, wishes and suggestions on what topics they see as interesting for discussion in the G20.
Question: I would like to ask about the G20 agenda in Russia. Will you discuss oil prices and oil pricing regulation? And what do you think about the volatility on commodity markets?
Ksenia Yudaeva: I believe that oil prices are regulated on market conditions and this will not be considered the way you formulated it. What we will consider is energy regulation on oil markets and effectiveness in terms of investment.
Sergei Storchak: I could add a few words. We are continuing the work in G20 to regulate the financial derivative instruments, particularly in the non-exchange markets, and it has to do with the evaluation of the derivatives market related to the situation on commodity markets and the overall volatility. The work is still going on and we are preparing regulation measures. The objective is to bring down the volatility but not to regulate prices.
Question: Reuters agency. Will you discuss the topic of competitive devaluation on your meeting of G20 Finance Ministers in February? Yesterday you mentioned that this topic was raised last Friday in the US.
Sergei Storchak: In the past two years, this issue has not been discussed as you formulated, because ministers and central bank managers do not believe that any of the G20 members manipulate exchange rates to stimulate exports. We believe that in February, during our first meeting, this topic will not be a key one. However, if required, we will include it in the agenda. But I believe that the central bank managers will play the most important role. They will meet more than once as part of Financial Stability Board or the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
Question: Could you tell more about the priorities of the Russian G20 presidency, please.
Ksenia Yudaeva: The key and major priority for the Russian G20 presidency is economic growth. We believe that global economy, though not in a recession, is in stagnation, and special measures are required for the economy to recover. So, the first priority is investment and jobs for economic growth.
Priority number two is transparency and confidence, and priority number three is effective regulation for economic growth. We believe that all these components - investments, creating jobs in the real sector, transparency and confidence in financial markets and effective relations, particularly in financial markets, as well as in the energy market and the labor market - are required for an impetus to be given to a global economic restructuring and an impetus to the economic growth to recover from a situation that we continue calling a crisis.
Question: I have two questions. First one is to Ms Yudaeva: Could you tell us how difficult or easy was it for Russia to obtain presidency in G20? And a question to Mr Storchak: What innovations or novelties do you believe Russia has demonstrated during its presidency this year?
Ksenia Yudaeva: Thank you very much. Honestly, I have been Sherpa not for long, so I did not participate in the process of receiving presidency. I was given an objective of organizing it. But still, we can see that the Russian presidency is supported by all partners very actively. We have all had some great interest because Russia is the first non-OECD country to preside in G20, therefore this is significant interest to a non-OECD country to arrange presidency. Yesterday, I heard many partners say how satisfied they were about the way we started and the way Russia has prepared itself for the initial meetings. Russia has shown an initiative and organized the work throughout all the communities. We are now discussing the first meetings of all communities, all partners are affirming that we have made a good start. Partners are satisfied and we hope very much that we will be able to keep this bar throughout the year.
Sergei Storchak: As regards to your first question, let me add that the choice of Russia was a complex political compromise, and any country could take presidency understanding how important this is for the promotion of national interests because the president sets the agenda for the entire year and chairs the so-called global governance process. Stemming from this is national leaders' eagerness to preside in this process. And we managed to do it at the recent talks in Cannes.
As regards new approaches to organizing the G20 process, I believe that the process of the finance ministers has been and will continue to be conservative because they are ministers of finance after all. However, we suggest something new: to avoid duplicating agendas of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' meetings. Unfortunately, as I said, each meeting had approximately the same set of topics, sometimes five topics, sometimes four or six. We will strive for the agenda items to be discussed after certain periods of work of working groups and other taskforces.
So the agenda of the first G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting will not duplicate the agenda of what was in Washington. This is the first approach and we will try to see what we can do. The second one is to slightly depart from a selection of fairly neutral discussion topics, which were there during negotiating the most acute stage of the crisis. We have decided to try to discuss professionally, without politicizing, the topic of borrowing and solving debt management, the issue which is in the air and which the G20 preferred not to discuss carefully leaving it for IMF and the World Bank instead.
Question: Banki.ru. Question to Mr Storchak. Yesterday, in his address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Putin tasked the Central Bank with attracting long-term resources. How do you think a regulator can manage such an unconventional task?
Sergei Storchak: I believe you are talking not about long-term resources but about providing long-term resources to the economy. What the Federal Reserve System has managed to do and what the European Central Bank is trying to achieve are namely three-year loans, long-term instruments put in circulation. And in current conditions, of course, in three years many projects can be financed and completed on a turnkey basis.
The Ministry of Finance has had no discussions with the Central Bank about this, and I believe that Sergei Ignatyev will try to discuss it with colleagues in the framework of G20 first, to see how it works in the US and in European Union. There is not much else I can add to this.
Question: Yesterday, did you discuss the list of countries-observers to be invited to the summit? When is such list to be expected?
Ksenia Yudaeva: Well, you know that there are certain rules as regards inviting countries to the summit, and Russia will obey these rules. All invitations will be distributed and publicly announced by the end of this year or in early 2013. At the next Sherpas' Meeting in March, we plan to invite sherpas of the participating countries.
Sergei Storchak: Let me add that we will use our presidency's rights as much as possible, inviting some participants to the summit and Sherpas' meetings and other participants to the Ministers' meetings. In this regard, the rules of G20 allow us some flexibility in this regard.
Ksenia Yudaeva: I would also like to say that we have discussed the opportunity to invite other countries, which have good experts in certain issues, to improve the quality of working groups' work. But, of course, we will work with third party countries through the outreach format rather than inviting them to the working process.
Ksenia Yudaeva: Any more questions? None? Thank you very much.
Sergei Storchak: Thank you.