July 7, 2009 / 11:48 AM / 11 years ago

Business comments from Obama-Medvedev summit

Following are remarks by Russian and U.S. policymakers and company executives about business ties between the two countries during President Barack Obama’s two-day trip to Moscow.

U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY GARY LOCKE

Locke met top U.S. executives on Monday.

“Actually they (U.S. firms) have remarked that they have made great progress, that there can be great economic returns here in Russia but you have to be patient.

“America’s high ethical standards of conduct can still lead to success... But they (U.S. businessmen) emphasized the need for greater predictability, stability, transparency and the rule of law.”

KLAUS KLEINFELD, CEO OF ALCOA

“One thing, and I would call that a big white elephant in the room, is the foundation which we all need to have to have successful business, and that is the rule of law. And that’s not negotiable.”

SAMUEL ALLEN, CHAIRMAN OF DEERE & CO

“We need the confidence that things are going to remain stable, that the ground rules are going to remain stable.

“I believe in the long run that is what the government will try to do but at this point in time things aren’t as stable was we would like to see... It makes us hesitant at times...”

ANDREW SOMERS, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

IN RUSSIA

“If we have success on the geopolitical side of the summit we are going to see much more investments by U.S. companies.

“We hope that President Medvedev will be able to follow through on his continuous campaign to improve the rule of law. I think this is a single biggest inhibitor to investment by U.S. companies, their concern about the rule of law.”

JOHN CONROY, BAKER & MCKENZIE

“There are hurdles (in Russia-U.S. business relations). What is good is that we are having this kind of dialogue (between Russian and U.S. businessmen.

“The right people are going to be there ... government and business working together to make sure that hurdles, whether they are massive or challenging, are addressed.”

VAGIT ALEKPEROV, CO-OWNER OF OIL COMPANY LUKOIL

WITH U.S. CONOCOPHILLIPS

“Obama evokes sympathy. He looks to the future. We have a feeling he wants to improve relations with Russia. We welcome him and many are expecting decisive action from him.”

OWNS THREE STEEL PLANTS IN THE UNITED STATES

Lisin complained about new U.S. legislations on tougher certification rules for finished steel products from outside the United States.

“The results are the following — two of our plants have been forced to halve production, 600 people have been sent on the street. We think it is an absolutely inadequate measure to support industries as jobs are being lost.

“We think U.S. authorities must review and amend this legislation.”

WHICH OWNS U.S. BLUESTONE COAL

“The new administration has announced substantial restrictions on activities of coal firms in the United States... This raises serious concerns from coal companies and authorities of certain U.S. states.”

VICTOR VEKSELBERG, RUSSIAN OIL AND METALS MAGNATE

“The level of (Russia-U.S. business) cooperation is shamefully low. We should be ashamed of the size of mutual investments.

“I think it should be a strong positive signal (from Obama) to all business to re-examine the possibilities that the two countries have.”

OLEG DERIPASKA, CO-OWNER OF RUSSIAN Aluminum COMPANY RUSAL

“The results of the summit should be measured not so much in a number of agreements and memoranda signed, but by a change in atmosphere.

“We must distinguish between true national interests and past decisions that are a product of bureaucracy, special interests and outdated mentality.”

NEIL DUFFIN, EXXONMOBIL PROJECT DEVELOPMENT HEAD

“We want the (Russian) authorities to make amendments to the subsoil law. We always have discussions around that. It is not easy but hopefully we will make some breakthrough.”

Editing by Dan Lalor

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