Premier Danny Williams (left) met with with Dmitry Dmitrienko, Governor of Murmansk, while in Russia to attend the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum this week. provincial government photo
Premier Danny Williams says his trip to Russia enabled him to promote the province at an international forum and make key contacts in areas of common interest with the Russians.
According to a news release, the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) explored areas of common interest, building relationships and studying emergence from the global economic crisis.
"The conference focused heavily on financial realities as we emerge from the world recession," Williams said. "It was particularly interesting to hear the perspective of the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, who discussed his country's modernization plan. It included many of the steps our government initiated over the past several years, including tax cuts, debt reduction, broadband access, focusing on innovation and R&D, focusing on energy efficiency and improving the investment climate."
Williams said he shared with officials the success that Newfoundand and Labrador has enjoyed over the past seven years, and specifically the resilience with which the province faced the world-wide economic recession.
In addition to attending sessions, he also held meetings with Dmitry Dmitrienko, Governor of Murmansk; Sergei Averin, the Minister for Economic Development for the Archangelsk region; officials with the Institute of Arctic and Antarctic Research; and, Deputy Chairman, Alexander Ivanovich Medvedev, Gazprom (Russian energy giant, currently preparing to develop Shtokman, the world's largest offshore gas field).
"We are both northern jurisdictions and deal with similar climates and harsh weather and environment issues; and we both rely heavily upon our energy sectors, in particular offshore projects," Williams said. "It was very informative to meet with the Institute of Arctic and Antarctic Research and to hear about their work with ice management and how to overcome harsh arctic environments, for example. Given the substantial expertise in this area within our province, there are great opportunities to share information and co-operate in the area of research and development. We also agreed to pursue the potential for a student exchange between our two jurisdictions."