Remarks by Ambassador John Beyrle at the Opening of General Electric Energy Power Technology Center in Kaluga
Kaluga, Russia - November 8, 2010
Governor Anatoly Dmitriyevich Artamonov, GE Vice Chairman John Krenicki, distinguished guests. It is a great pleasure to be with all of you today as we celebrate the opening of General Electric Energy's new Power Technology Center here in Kaluga. It is a particular pleasure because, aside from its tremendous importance in its own right, this opening reflects the growing strength of the relationship between our two countries.
General Electric’s long history in Russia gives it much to be proud of, both in bringing quality products to Russia and in transferring technology and knowledge. GE’s Russian partners also have contributed to improving existing GE products and designing new ones in sectors as diverse as railroads, oil and gas, aviation, healthcare and, of course, energy.
The mutual benefits of technology transfer and the sharing of skills and ideas takes on added meaning today as Russia make a major effort to develop a knowledge-based economy, taking advantage of the great intellectual resources of its population. This plant is just the latest example of significant investments by GE, a company that has for over 20 year been a leading example of foreign direct investment focused on innovation and modernization in Russia. GE is a leader in design and development, creating over 1,000 high-tech jobs in Russia. The plant we are inaugurating today will employ between 50 to 100 highly skilled Russian engineers and service staff.
But today’s ceremony marks more than just another step in GE’s strong relationship with Russia. Over the past year and a half we have seen a new approach to the U.S.-Russia relationship. This “reset” means finding areas where we can work productively together in both our national interests. When Presidents Obama and Medvedev met in June, they pledged to apply this new approach to expanding and strengthening our economic relationship. Today’s opening is a tangible example of this cooperation.
I find one other aspect of today’s opening significant. It takes place in Kaluga Oblast, which under Gov. Artamonov’s leadership has become one of the regions in Russia most attractive to foreign investors. The presence here of US companies like GE and John Deere demonstrates that creating an investor-friendly environment produces results, and that good corporate citizenship both companies embody directly benefits the population.
Today’s opening is a cause for celebration for many reasons. Russia and the U.S. have a critically important relationship. And as we rebuild trust and strengthen habits of cooperation at the political level, companies such as General Electric and regions like Kaluga are providing a strong economic foundation that will make the improvement more sustainable – by demonstrating on the ground that our two countries profit more from cooperation than competition.
I am delighted to be part of this ceremony and all that it represents. Thank you & congrats.