17th Anniversary Annual
Russian American Pacific Partnership (RAPP)
Pavilion, Hotel Murano
Greetings, I am pleased to
welcome this forum and all its attendees back to Washington State and
the great Pacific Northwest.
I would like to
acknowledge a few of the esteemed dignitaries in the room: Deputy
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov (Sir-gay
U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2008-2012 John Beyrle;
Ambassador Extraordinaire Eduard
Malayan (Ed-uard Mah-lie-YAN);
Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe,
Matthew Murray; and Dmitry Sazhin (Dim-EE-tree Sah-jin), Deputy
Director, Department of the Americas, Ministry of Economic Development
of Russia; Consul General Sylvia Curran; Consul General Andrey
Yushmanov; and my counterpart with the state of Alaska, Lt. Governor
all of the regional delegations and attendees for taking part in the
Russian American Pacific Partnership or RAPP process.
What we are doing at RAPP really matters.
Russia is an
extremely important friend and trading partner with the State of
Washington and it is growing steadily.
As a state
official, I recognize the importance of our long-standing and mutually
beneficial relationship with Russia broadly and with the Russian Far
East in particular. I am encouraged by Washington stateís dramatic
growth in exports over the past two years.
2012 could approach $500 million
to be our largest export year to Russia ever.
We have many
ongoing exchanges with Russia, both through our sister city
relationships, within academia and the arts. Washington has a large
The many Russian and former-Soviet heritage citizens of Washington State
are active members of our communities and serve as a valuable human
connection between our respective regions and countries.
histories connect us in other important ways.
Pacific-facing shores are both pioneer regions. The history of our
westward expansion reads very similar to Russiaís eastward expansion.
Many of our key industries have been the same, from commercial fishing
to timber and paper mills, mining, and even aircraft construction.
Over our long history of cooperation, Washington has pioneered
some of the most important U.S.-Russian commercial and non-commercial
Resources Company International, also known in Russia as SOVAM, was a
highly successful U.S.-Soviet (later Russian) Seattle-based
joint-venture company in fishing, seafood sales and vessel refit and
supply before it quit doing business in 2000.
the company no longer exists, the son of its founder Jim Talbot, Stowe
Talbot, carries on his fatherís tradition. Stowe owns a company to the
north of us called Bellingham Cold Storage. Just about this time every
year Bellingham Cold Storage loads up a large vessel filled with
three to four thousand metric tons of
Washington potatoes, apples, beets, frozen chicken and hot dogs and
ships it to communities in the far northern and remote region of
which is directly across from Alaska. It is timed to arrive just before
the ice sets in.
Stowe Talbot is now
organizing a major photo exhibition
called Wild East Meets Wild
West at the Whatcom Museum,
featuring photographs by the Nakhodka (Na-hode-KA)
photographer Georgy (Gi-OR-gee)
Pakin (Paw-kin) over several decades of U.S.-Soviet fishing cooperation,
when fishing vessels from Kamchatka (Kom-chiat-KA),
and Primorye (pre-mor-Yeh) worked with American fisherman in U.S. waters
and enjoyed port calls in Washington and Alaskan ports.
This will remind Lt.
Governor Treadwell and the rest of us of the drama that played out this
past January in the remote Alaskan village of Nome when a Russian tanker
risked all and broke its way through the ice to supply the village with
badly needed oil before their supplies ran out.
of maritime cooperation between our countries is extensive. In more
recent years the aerospace industry has taken off too.
Whether during World War II or in
space exploration, history has shown us that Russia and the United
States can cooperate and achieve greater results working together than
might be achieved working independently.
One of my favorite Russian
stories was the first transpolar airplane flight of the
Soviet ANT-25 monoplane from Russia to the
United States on June 20, 1937. The three
Soviet flyers, pilot Valery Chkalov (chik-a-love), co-pilot Georgy
Buy-da-kof), and navigator Alexander
set off from Moscow, flew over the north pole, then headed south over
the Canadian Rockies and west. They faced heavy storms and blinding
conditions along the way and didnít even have a clear idea of where they
were going or where they would land.
earlier Charles Lindbergh transatlantic flight, their mission was
cloaked in secrecy, but somehow word leaked out and the world was
anxiously awaiting news. They knew they would have to come down
somewhere between Seattle and Oakland, California, but around Eugene,
Oregon they realized they were running low on fuel and turned north.
They tried to land in Portland, but spotted a big crowd waiting for them
below and were worried their aircraft would be torn apart by a
So they flew over the Columbia
River to Pearson Field in Vancouver, Washington, where they were greeted
by none other than General George C. Marshall, who later become the U.S.
Secretary of State. And it was a good thing those three flyers landed -
the ANT-25 after logging more than 63 hours and having covered 5,288
miles had just 11 gallons of fuel left.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of that
flight. That flight was amazing, and today it stands as a symbol of
Russiaís great pioneers. Our histories are remarkably similar as two
great frontier nations. I am
struck by what amazing good can be accomplished if we work together.
And thankfully we are.
has extensive work with Russia in engineering, aircraft sales and parts
supply as well as sourcing of titanium and machined components.
Boeing Commercial, in fact, employs about 1,200 contract workers
at its Boeing Design Center in Russia as part of the companyís global
work force. These engineers have made great design contributions on such
aircraft as the
787 Dreamliner and the
747-8 Freighter and Intercontinental.
even consulted Sukhoi (Sue-Hoy) in the Russian Far East at KNAAPO
(Ka-Na-Po) in Komsomolsk-Na-Amure.
Microsoft also has a large presence in Russia, basing a large
regional sales office there.
Many talented Russian software developers work here, and of course both
Brin and PayPal founder Max Levchin (lev-chin)
are Russian. We are not really so different
and have a great deal to offer each other working together. Many of the
presentations you will hear this afternoon will further illustrate the
great potential of U.S.-Russian partnerships.
Here are some things that
I see as working in favor of more U.S.-Russian cooperation over the
Last month, Russia
completed its membership in the World Trade Organization. This is not
only good for U.S. commerce with Russia, but is good for Russian
consumers, and ultimately for Russian companies to compete more
effectively. Being a member of the WTO means enormous new opportunities
for trade with Russia and the United States and, we believe, especially
for the state of Washington.
Of course there is a
catch. Congress must act, and letís hope that it does soon, on enacting
Permanent Normal Trade Relations, or PNTR, with Russia.
The Business Roundtable, a
Washington, D.C.-based organization of top businesses, has made approval
of PNTR its top trade priority and has even documented what passage of
the PNTR would mean for the state of Washington.
Failure to pass PNTR would
mean stiffer competition from other global markets in a number of key
industries important to our state, including aerospace products,
automobile exports, and frozen fish. We do not wish to sink our stake in
opportunity over failure to pass PNTR.
President Barack Obamaís
National Export Initiative set a goal of doubling our nationís exports
over five years and our stateís governor, Christine Gregoire, has set
major new export goals specific to Washington too.
Russia is one of the countries
where the U.S. can aspire to achieve significant growth in exports.
Our president focuses
particular attention on the Pacific for trade growth. Russia has also
affirmed its intention to radically expand its trade with its Pacific
neighbors. Just over a week ago, Russia concluded its 2012 hosting of
the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) with the CEO Summit in
in the Primorsky (pree-MOR-ski)
I congratulate Russia, the Primorsky Territory
and Vladivostok on their hosting this major event. The U.S. and Russia
should work together for our shared economic benefit in the Pacific
theater. We need to seek cooperation for the
benefit of both our economies.
depends on international trade and we rely on the work of many trade
related organizations. The Council for U.S.-Russia Relations and the
Russian American Pacific Partnership forum are devoted to the purpose of
enhancing economic opportunity with Russia and have been for many years.
And we thank them for all of their hard efforts.
Washington, and in fact the entire Pacific Northwest and nation, is
seeking to grow our economy. Russia has a similar interest to diversify
and grow its economy. While
a certain degree of competition is good, pursuit of our economic agendas
need not be a zero-sum proposition. The United States will benefit from
a strong Russian economy, just as Russia will benefit from a strong U.S.
It would also be great to expand
exchanges in arts, education, technology and government, which lead to
greater understanding of each other.
The language barrier remains a significant
obstacle between our countries and is an area we need to address. So it
would be very helpful to encourage more Russian language instruction in
our schools, as well as supporting the quality of English instruction in
We should work together to
encourage more tourism opportunities between our regions. The Pacific
Northwest has much to offer and so does Russia, especially in the
territories of the Russian Far East. We are thrilled that this summer,
AirCompany Yakutia (ya-KOO-tiya)
with their partner in Seattle InterPacific Aviation & Marketing, Inc.,
successfully launched renewed direct charter passenger flight service
between Anchorage, Alaska and
( (Kam-chat-ski), Kamchatka
We wish them every success to expand this service in the future.
We could encourage greater
sports exchanges and programs between our regions, such as the Goodwill
Games hosted in Seattle two decades ago. Sports can build lasting
friendships between athletes and communities.
Washington has a number of
formal sister city and friendship city and port relationships. The Port
of Tacoma has a sister port relationship with the Port of Vladivostok (Vla-dee-va-STOKE).
Five Washington cities have formal relationships with cities in
Russia. These relationships, by their very nature, are there to increase
trade, cultural and business ties.
Are we taking full
advantage of these existing relationships and building on them or could
we do more?
Letís work together to
innovate, especially in the areas of green, clean energy production,
technology and environmental protection. Alaska, Canada, Russia and the
Pacific Northwest have a tremendous opportunity to share technology and
stewardship practices to provide for responsible development and clean
environments for future decades.
I mean face it folks between us we have the most beautiful and
dynamic areas in the world.
Washington State is a
leader in green energy technologies as well as environmental solution
technology to treat waste and keep our air and waters clean. As
neighbors we can share our best practices from both sides to ensure the
health of our common North Pacific basin.
Finally, we should do an
exhaustive inventory of goods and services that we have to offer each
other and find ways to capitalize on areas of common interest or need.
We should renew efforts to organize trade missions filled with delegates
with interest to establish trade partnerships and investment ties and
hopefully I would finally be able to go on one!
We offer each other so
much and there is so much more we can do for and with each other.
Conferences like this important one encourage us to think in
broader ways with greater vision for the future.
Let us remember the true
spirit of the early pioneers of Russia and the United States in opening
new lands and horizons, to forge new business opportunities and, most
importantly, to deepen the bonds of friendship between our people. I
thank you. Spa-see-bah.