Medvedev17 November 2009  By Aaron Mulvihill

President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday hailed Singapore’s high-tech sector as an “impressive example” for Russia as it seeks to wean itself off its dependence on commodity exports.

Medvedev spoke as he oversaw a flurry of negotiations in Singapore with companies interested in investing in Russia’s Far East and a possible deal that would allow Gazprom to exclusively supply gas to the island nation.

Medvedev told a meeting with business leaders that Russia could take a lesson from how Singapore had spurred its technology-driven economy with close but not excessive state intervention.

“If we do not change the paradigm of our thinking, we will remain a resource appendix for many other countries, which is unacceptable in the 21st century,” he said, Interfax reported. “We very much count on investment and help with technology from our colleagues in Singapore.”

During a demonstration of paperless government technology, Medvedev filed a mock application to open a Russian restaurant in the city. Russia has struggled to meet its e-government targets, while Singapore officials said they are keen to export their technology.

Meeting at the Istana, the residence of the president of Singapore, Medvedev and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong signed a statement announcing the establishment of an intergovernmental commission to promote cooperation between the two countries.

The commission is to be co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Sobyanin and Singapore’s senior minister, Goh Chok Tong. Its broad scope will extend to economic and scientific cooperation as well as the development of political and cultural ties.

Medvedev, who was in Singapore after attending a weekend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, was accompanied on the visit by a trade mission comprising some of Russia’s largest companies, including VTB, United Company RusAl, Sistema, Russian Technologies and Gazprom.

Sistema has begun talks with Singapore-based investment company Temasek Holdings with a view to expanding its telecoms business to Indonedia, Myanmar and Vietnam. “We would like Temasek to cooperate with us,” Sistema Chairman Vladimir Evtushenkov said, Bloomberg reported.

Gazprom could replace British Gas as the exclusive provider of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to the island nation, the president of Keppel Corporation, Chiau Beng Choo, told reporters.

Gazprom deputy head Alexander Medvedev was optimistic about the company’s future in the Pacific Rim. “For us, Singapore is the gate to the Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “We will be ready to discuss with colleagues the possibilities of supplies for Singapore and the region. Also meeting with Russian delegates, Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Group, Southeast Asia’s biggest lender, said the bank intended to start operations in Vladivostok.

Vladivostok will host the 2012 APEC summit, and President Medvedev announced Monday that 200 billion rubles ($7 billion) of state funds would be allocated for developing local infrastructure in the run-up to the event.

Vocabulary

look for — искать

hail — приветствовать

high-tech — высокотехнологичный

seek – стремится

wean — отлучать (от чего-то)

commodity — предмет потребления, продукт

oversee — наблюдать, следить

negotiations — переговоры

deal — соглашение, сделка

allow — позволить

exclusively — эксклюзивно

supply — предоставлять

spur — подгонять, стимулировать

driven — приводимый в движение

excessive — непомерный

intervention — вмешательство

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