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FS meets Deputy Prime Minister of Russia (with photos)

     The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, called on Russia's Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Arkady Dvorkovich, yesterday afternoon (August 29) and attended the first session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Finance Ministers' Meeting this morning (August 30).

     In Mr Tsang's meeting yesterday afternoon with Mr Dvorkovich, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister who is in charge of energy, industry, agriculture and fisheries, both sides held the view that the impact of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis has become more obvious. They also exchanged views on the influence of petroleum products and agricultural products on global inflation. Mr Tsang and Mr Dvorkovich agreed that there is great potential for growth in bilateral trade.

     "I believe that Hong Kong people would welcome quality seafood and meat from Russia. I encourage Russian agricultural product exporters to explore the Hong Kong market," Mr Tsang said.

     Subsequently, Mr Dvorkovich asked senior officials in charge of agricultural matters to seek session with Mr Tsang to further explore the possibility of exporting agricultural products to Hong Kong.

     Mr Tsang also held meetings separately with local bankers and foreign bankers in Russia. The First Deputy President of VTB Bank, Mr Yuri A Soloviev, gave an account of the bank's business, including the business plan of its Hong Kong office. The Chairman of the Board of Deutsche Bank in Russia, Mr Joerg Bongartz, shared with Mr Tsang in another meeting the opportunities and challenges faced by foreign banks in Russia. He added that Deutsche Bank is willing to discuss the investment situation in Russia with Hong Kong businessmen who intend to invest in Russia.

     The meetings with bankers were followed by a meeting with the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Mr Sergey Katyrin. Both sides agreed that the business sectors in Hong Kong and Russia have a relatively low understanding of each other's markets and that work on exchange and trade promotion should be enhanced.

    At the APEC Finance Ministers' Meeting this morning, finance ministers from various countries showed concern over the lingering eurozone sovereign debt crisis and expressed hope that the European Union member states would effectively implement initiatives to restore market confidence to regain economic growth. The Vice Minister of the Ministry of Finance, Mr Wang Jun, stressed that the Mainland has a solid economic foundation and confidence in maintaining steady economic growth and a soft landing for the economy. Both the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank noted that some Asian regions have shown signs of economic downturn, but the situation could be tackled by fiscal and monetary policies to maintain economic drive.

     Speaking at the meeting, Mr Tsang pointed out that Hong Kong has been adopting a prudent fiscal policy to keep Hong Kong's fiscal reserves at a healthy level, leaving the Government with adequate fiscal room to introduce necessary stimuli during an economic downturn despite a sluggish external environment.

Ends/Thursday, August 30, 2012
Issued at HKT 22:57


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