Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced his country’s pivot to the East, vowing to expand trade with Pacific Rim countries and to focus on developing resource-rich Far East.

“Development of regional economic integration is Russia’s strategic choice,” Mr. Putin said on Sunday winding up a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vladivostok.

The Russian leader called for upgrading the infrastructure of Russia’s eastern regions as “an uppermost task” for his government. He announced plans to build modern rail and motor roads, seaports and airports in order to develop sea and land transport corridors between Asia and Europe.

The Kremlin said Russian trade with APEC countries, which contributes less than a quarter of the country’s total turnover, in five to ten years is to surpass trade with Europe — Russia’s main trade partner accounting for half of its trade,

A Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) survey of 370 APEC business leaders presented at the summit showed that they placed Russia among their top five investment targets over the next three to five years.

The APEC leaders adopted a declaration pledging measures to boost economic growth, liberalise trade and stabilise finances to offset the fallout of the European debt crisis. The leaders also endorsed a plan to cut tariffs on eco-friendly goods — such as solar batteries, wind turbines and waste-water treatment technologies — to 5 per cent or less by 2015.

United States President Barack Obama was the only one among the 21 APEC leaders who skipped the Vladivostok summit to attend the Democratic Party convention, which nominated him to run for a second term.

The 2013 APEC summit will be held in Bali, Indonesia.

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