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IRKUTSK, September 12 (Itar-Tass) — The Baikal Economic Forum (BEF) has opened in Irkutsk on Monday.
BEF participants “are to discuss strategy for economic development of Siberia and the Russian Far East and the related long-term investment projects, to consider possible ways of strengthening cross-border and regional cooperation with countries in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), and special attention will be given to youth entrepreneurship in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries,” it is said in address of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that was read out by his envoy to the Siberian Federal District Viktor Tolokonsky.
RF Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has also expressed confidence that the discussion in the East Siberian capital will be held “in a constructive and creative manner, to help implement the popular and useful initiatives.” “For many years, BEF has been an authoritative discussion platform that provides an excellent opportunity for an interested professional discussion of the economic development in Russia, especially Siberia and the Far East,” the prime minister noted in his messaged that was read out by the governor of the Irkutsk region, Dmitry Mezentsev. Among the main priorities for the eastern territories of the Russian Federation Putin outlined the “implementation of innovative projects to create new jobs in modern industries, improvement of the transport, communication and energy infrastructure, effective development of natural resources, expansion of business and cultural contacts with Asia-Pacific and European countries.”
The Baikal Economic Forum that is held in Irkutsk for the 7th time has gathered parliamentarians, officials of relevant agencies and representatives of the business community. A distinctive feature of BEF 2011 is broad participation of foreign representatives. In addition to the discussions in plenary and thematic “roundtable” meetings, the international conference “Europe-Russia-APR: the development of transport infrastructure,” is planned for the three days of the forum, as well as meetings of the Commission on the Modernisation and Technological Development of the Russian Economy, the Council of the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia, the Council on the Development of the Forestry Sector of Russia under the RF government. The forum’s business part will have the signing of agreements on cooperation of the leading national corporations with the RF regions and foreign partners, as well as an exhibition of investment projects. By tradition, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) day will end the event’s programme.
According to the BEF release, In 2010, the VI BEF was held; and as its participants thought it became one of the most impressive - 1,607 people, including delegations of 17 countries (Kazakhstan, Poland, China, Japan, France, and South Korea among them), participated in the Plenary Sessions and Round Tables discussions. As many as 34 members of the Federation Council and 12 State Duma deputies, the heads of 22 federal authorities and 53 delegations from the regions were the Forum participants. Representatives of 66 major Russian and foreign companies, as well as authoritative Russian public associations, Chamber of Commerce, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Association of Russian Banks, etc. worked at the BEF.
Twenty-one agreements between regional governments and major companies, as well as between commercial entities were concluded in the frames of the VI BEF. Estimated volume of investments may reach 214 billion roubles.
In 2011 (September, 12-14), the VII Baikal International Economic is held in Irkutsk. The Forum official opening ceremony was held on September 12th, as well as the plenary session on “the State policy for the development of the Far East and the Baikal region.” Viktor Basargin, the RF Minister Regional Development Minister, will present a report “On the Strategy for the Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region.”
The exhibition of investment projects of Siberia, the Far East and the countries of the SCO is to be opened on the same day. Traditionally, the second day will focus on the BEF Round Tables activity and the signing of a series of treaties and agreements. In addition, the meeting of the Council for Development of the timber industry complex of Russia at the Russian Government led by Victor Maslyakov will be conducted on September 13th; as well as an international conference and reception held by the RF Federation Council. September 14 will be the SCO Day- a series of business meetings, in which SCO representatives will participate, will be held.