Russia’s Putin to discuss reserve currencies with US Obama in Moscow
Dmitry Peskov   /  Photo: www.bori.ru

Russia’s Putin to discuss reserve currencies with US Obama in Moscow

3 Jul, 10:39 PM

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin may discuss reserve currencies with US President Barack Obama at a breakfast in Moscow next week, Putin's spokesman said on Thursday.

Putin, who developed a good personal rapport with Obama's predecessor George W. Bush despite Russia-US relations hitting post-Cold War lows, will have one-and-a-half hour long meeting with Obama during the US president's first visit to Russia.

"It would be logical to suggest that an exchange of opinions regarding the global economic crisis will take place, in this context the issue of reserve currencies can be raised," said Dmitry Peskov. The meeting's agenda is still being made final.

The government has been careful to maintain that the key meetings Obama will have will be with President Dmitry Medvedev while Putin, still seen as Russia's most influential politician, will keep a low profile.

"Mechanisms of cooperation may be discussed at the meeting of the heads of state," Peskov said, when asked if Russia and the US could create an intergovernmental commission for day-to-day cooperation.

Since stepping down as president last year and taking over as government head, Putin has largely concentrated on the economy and energy but remained in the center of public attention as the country's top crisis manager and a leader of its biggest party.

In his speech at the Davos Economic Forum last January, Putin sharply criticized US economic policy and said that Russia, a major holder of US debt, was expecting more fiscal discipline from reserve currency issuers.

"The anti-crisis policy, information exchange about planned measures, will be one of the issues," Peskov said. Russia has been actively promoting the idea of multiple reserve currencies in recent months.

Russia holds about 30 percent of its foreign currency reserves, the world's third largest, in US Treasury bonds, but it plans to cut this share by placing money in commercial banks and investing in bonds issued by the International Monetary Fund.

Peskov said that, with US investment in Russia at $8.8 billion and Russian investment in the US at $9.5 billion, bilateral trade and investments were likely to become the main focus of the meeting.

Peskov denied that US energy companies had problems with access to the Russian market. "In that sense, Russian legislation is more liberal than in many other countries," he added.

Peskov said the two leaders will also discuss Russia's entry in the World Trade Organization as part of the customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, adding that Russia would welcome a US decision to back a fresh start in negotiations.

"It would be a very good sign," Peskov said.

Russia, the largest economy outside the 153-member WTO, caused confusion last month when Putin announced it was dropping its unilateral bid to join the WTO in favor of forming a customs union with its neighbors.

 

Tags: Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, Moscow,



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