Interview with Dmitry Kosyrev
Russia Today: What is Russia hoping to gain by participating in this summit?
Dmitry Kosyrev: The ultimate goal of Russia’s participation in this summit and in APEC in general is, plainly speaking, developing Russia’s Far East. This is the area which cannot be developed alone, regardless of any efficient infusion of capital. The business plans of developing this area need to be co-ordinated with Russia’s partners. And these partners are obviously the APEC member-countries which are America, Japan, China, South Korea and so on. So this is the main goal and I would say it is succeeding because since Russia joined APEC in 1998, our export doubled twice and import has more than doubled – so it works.
RT: As APEC is an organisation of economic co-operation this means that issues it is aiming to resolve are based on economy, are purely economic. But also this year, Australian PM John Howard, who is hosting the summit, has placed climate change on the top of the agenda. What kind of progress can we expect to be made there?
D.K.: This is a very good subject to discuss for the region which consumes about 60% of world energy. To put it simply, the leaders are going to consider climate change, which has been enhanced by greenhouse gas emissions. Energy security and a clean development – all this is one and the same subject, which boils down to a simple definition: do not burn dirty coal and dirty coke. And a lot has been done already in the area, and the leaders are just going to review the progress and suggest new ideas like the Australian-Chinese deal called “Clean Coal”. It is an essential transfer of technology to make the burning of coal cleaner. Then there is a programme which has some regard to Indonesia and Malaysia. It is how to avoid excessive logging and burning the plantations, and therefore reducing emissions of smoke and gas into the atmosphere. But it all goes down to modern technologies which are efficient. They bring revenues and they produce less emissions.
RT: Among the 21 members of APEC there are some very big polluters like China and the U.S. America is not a member of the Kyoto Protocol. Let’s go to the issue of Russia’s accession to the WTO. It is one of the thorniest issues and it was actually one of the issues discussed at the summit last year in Hanoi. How much progress can we expect to be made in this direction?
D.K.: I am very pessimistic about APEC’s ability to speed up our accession to WTO because what we get every year is wholehearted support of our efforts to join the organization. But then the APEC summit passes, and we are still left with the same problem of concrete negotiations with particular WTO members.