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Secretary Clinton's Remarks Following Tour of Boeing Design Center

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Boeing Design Center Moscow, Moscow, Russia
October 13, 2009


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Sergey. And this is a very exciting visit for me. I feel like I should apologize to all of the engineers because we’re interrupting their legendary 24-hour workday. Because of the connections with Wichita and Seattle, they literally work around the clock, and it shows in terms of the productivity and the results.

I want to thank you very much, Sergey, for giving me this tour. And if enthusiasm were marketable, he would be a blue chip stock – (laughter) – because he is so devoted and excited about what is happening here, and so am I, because this does illustrate the kind of closer collaboration that we’re seeking to encourage between American companies and Russian companies, between American experts and Russian experts – in this case engineers – who are among the very best in the world. And because they are now part of this multinational effort, they can produce extraordinary products like this Dreamliner.

I really want to thank our ambassador, who is a strong supporter of this effort, Ambassador Beyrle. And if you looked at the pictures, you saw a former ambassador, Bill Burns. So this has been a consistent commitment on the part of the United States Government here in Moscow to promote this, because it really does illustrate very powerfully what we can do together.

I’m excited about the new Dreamliner. I can’t wait to see it in action for myself. But we also can maybe celebrate some of the less tangible results of this partnership. The engineers who work here – 1,400 of them – not only to help drive technological progress, but they promote shared prosperity for each of our nations, and indeed for the world as a whole. The contributions go way beyond building and improving Boeing aircraft. It really fosters collaboration that ranges from joint ventures, some of which are explained in the promotional material, as well as the titanium-focused work that has been done here. Russia produces the titanium for these airliners. As Sergey was explaining to me, this is a composite. It’s the first time that an airline will ever be made out of composite and not aluminum, right? And I’ve been trying to break this. I can’t do it. (Laughter.) It feels very strong and durable to me.

But these knowledge-based jobs, particularly in a country like Russia which has such a highly educated population, and particularly in the sciences and engineering, really in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering, mathematics – it’s just a treasure trove of potential for the Russian economy. I’ve heard President Medvedev talk about how he wants to see the Russian economy become more knowledge-based. The commodities are a great engine for the economy, but I think he’s really looking to the future when he talks about more knowledge-based jobs like those that we see here. It does provide a win-win. The bi-national commission that we’ve set up is looking for win-wins. We just don’t think that zero-sum politics works in the 21st century. We’re too interconnected, we’re too interdependent. So we’re going to see a lot of cooperation that comes out of a better understanding and appreciation of what each of our countries can contribute.

I also want to thank the Export-Import Bank of the United States. They have a long history of supporting exports to Russia, including the sale of aircraft. And we’re delighted that a new Russian airline, Rosavia, is actively considering the acquisition of Boeing Aircraft. And this is a shameless pitch for Rosavia – I’ve said what you wanted me to say, Sergey – to buy Boeing Aircraft. Right? The ExIm Bank would welcome an application for financing from Rosavia to support its purchase of Boeing Aircraft, and I hope that on a future visit I’ll see a lot of new Rosavia-Boeing planes when I land in Moscow.

I feel so positive about our relationship. And as I said earlier with Minister Lavrov, we know this is not easy. We know that we’ve got work to do on both sides. But it is models like this that give me a lot of conviction that we’re on the right track. During his last visit to Moscow in July, President Obama said that when our economies grow more intertwined, all of us can make progress. And I can’t think of a better illustration than what we see here at the Boeing Design Center.

So, Sergey, again thank you. Thank you for this great collaboration and your leadership and your enthusiasm in making it happen. Thank you.

MR. KELLY: The Secretary has time for one question. Jeff Mason from Reuters.

QUESTION: Right here.


QUESTION: Hey. You mentioned Rosavia.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I can take a Russian question, too, if there’s a Russian --

STAFF: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: You mentioned Rosavia.


QUESTION: And I’m curious if in your discussions today with Russians officials whether or not you got any indication that the decision has been made for Boeing. There was a newspaper report today that the government has been leaning towards getting a contract (inaudible). And secondly, after your meeting with the civil rights – with the Civil Society today, could you just spell out what U.S. strategy is on human rights and democracy in Russia, and how do you follow up on what you’ve heard there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, in terms of Rosavia, we have representatives from that company here. We obviously hope that Boeing is their selection. We think we have a great collaboration. We think that the work done by the Russian engineers here in this Design Center enables whatever planes that are bought to be first-rate and exactly what is needed in terms of the internal domestic Russian market. But obviously, we’re hoping, but we’ll have to see what the eventual decision is.

QUESTION: No indications?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re hoping. We have reason to hope. But it’s not done till it’s done. I’m going to opera tonight. We say at home, it’s not over till the fat lady sings, so I guess we’ll wait until we hear the singing from Rosavia.

The question you asked deserves a much more thoughtful and longer answer than is really possible right now. But clearly, we believe strongly that Russia’s future is extraordinarily positive. Productivity, economic prosperity, sustainable progress is all within reach. But we know from experience not only in our own country, but looking historically around the world, that greater political freedom, more accountable government, respect for human rights, an independent judiciary, a free and vigilant press really goes hand-in-hand with the kind of economic openness and innovation that is what’s required in the 21st century economy.

So it’s not only because we believe that universal values support human rights being recognized and respected, but we think that it’s in the best interest for economic growth and political stability. So we believe that. We make that argument. We are encouraged by many of the comments that the president has made. I’ll see him in a few minutes and we’ll talk in more detail about how a lot of his vision will be translated into action.

Thank you.

PRN: 2009/T13-13

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