MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. Twenty-first St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2017) opens in St Petersburg on Thursday. It will last three days and will bring together more than 12,000 participants from 133 countries.
This year’s forum is the second one to be held in the Expoforum Congress and Exhibition Center, where the premises as thrice as big as at Lenexpo, where the forums took place before 2016.
The history of SPIEF takes root in 1997 and in 2006 it turned into an event under personal patronage of the Russian President.
Dozens of Russian and foreign funds and companies, including the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Vnesheconombank, Rosneft, Rushydro, and the RZD companies plan signing the agreements and contracts worth hundreds of billions of rubles.
Presidents and Prime Ministers of different countries, members of Russian government, regional governors, heads of largest Russian and international companies, politicians and public personalities traditionally take part in it.
Special focus will be given this year to the key issues arising from the analysis of main trends in the global economy, the items on Russia’s business agenda, and the problems of human capital as a key vector for development.
The sphere of scientific achievements and technologies exerting more and more influence on our lives will also get sufficient attention.
President Vladimir Putin said in a welcoming address to participants in the forum, published in the SPIEF magazine, the motto this year’s forum is "Achieving a New Balance in Global Economy."
"The world economy has been showing the signs of getting over the slump for the first time over the past several years," he said. "We will discuss in the course of the forum how to consolidate the emerging tendencies and to assess the challenges and risks that require efficacious steps on the part of the world community in terms of improvements in the global governance architecture so as to achieve a distribution of the benefits of globalization for all the sections of the population."
"Thus we will ensure a steady and balanced development," Putin wrote.
The Kremlin press service said Putin will hold a number of meetings with the heads of foreign countries on the sideline of the forum and will have discussions with Russian and foreign business people.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern, and Moldova’s President Igor Dodon have confirmed their attendance of the forum. Also taking part in the sessions and discussions will be 39 ministers from 26 foreign countries, governors of 72 constituent regions of Russia, the heads of more than 250 largest foreign companies, the heads of more than 700 Russian companies, and about 2,500 reporters from 35 countries.
Vladimir Putin is expected to participate in the Russia-US Business Dialogue panel discussion. Also, he will hold talks with the Austrian Chancellor Kern and with the UN Secretary General. On the last day of the forum, Putin will attend the ceremony of baptizing the Arctic LNG tanker Christoph de Margerie. The latter is a unique Arc7 ice-class vessel designed especially for the Yamal LNG project.
The global oil and gas industry will have an impressive representation at SPIEF 2017. The list of officials and executive includes Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Chairman of the Board of Saudi Aramco president Haled al Falih, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Buerden, the BP Group chief executive Robert Dudley, chairman of the Board of Directors at Total Patrick Pouyanne, Rosneft Chief Executive Manager Igor Sechin, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, IHS Markit Vice President Daniel Yergin, Engie Chief Executive Director Isabelle Kocher, OMV Director General Reiner Seele, Wintershall Chief Executive Director Mario Mehren, and the Secretary General of the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries, Seyed Mohammed Hossein Adeli.
Development of Russian regions will be a topic running through the entire forum. A presentation of the results of the national rankings of investment climate in the regions will take place in formal of the SPIEF 2017 official program.