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Medvedev to Put Business First In U.S. Visit

MTObama meeting Medvedev in Moscow in July. Medvedev will visit Silicon Valley before the White House this week.

President Dmitry Medvedev will visit Silicon Valley before the White House in a signal that he is more keen on doing business than talking politics during a visit to the United States this week, his economic aide Arkady Dvorkovich said Monday.

Medvedev will begin a three-day visit Tuesday in the San Francisco Bay area, home to Silicon Valley, and then fly to Washington for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama about international security issues and Russia's entrance into the World Trade Organization, Dvorkovich said.

He said the president would meet with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who has agreed to join the supervisory board of the Skolkovo innovation center, Medvedev's attempt to build a Russian version of Silicon Valley outside Moscow.

Medvedev will also chair a roundtable of more than two dozen U.S. and Russian CEOs from agriculture, IT, oil and gas and aerospace companies in Washington, said Andrew Somers, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.

Senior officials from LUKoil and Gazprom will accompany Medvedev, Dvorkovich said, as will VTB chairman Andrei Kostin and metals tycoon Alexei Mordashov, according to the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

"Naturally, the Russian side is hoping for results," Dvorkovich said at a news conference. "The goal is not to tour the U.S. but to attain specific agreements with our partners."

Russian Technologies will sign a previously announced multibillion-dollar contract to purchase 50 Boeing 737 jets for Aeroflot, Dvorkovich said. Boeing will also announce its plans regarding "an expansion of company operations in Russia," he said, without elaborating.

VSMPO-Avisma Corp., a titanium producer controlled by Russian Technologies, will sign agreements with its American partners, the Kremlin said in a statement. Ural Boeing Manufacturing, a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and VSMPO-Avisma based in the Sverdlovsk region, was created in 2007 and began production with Obama's first visit to Moscow in 2009.

KamAZ and General Motors also will discuss cooperation possibilities during Medvedev's trip, Dvorkovich said.

On Wednesday, Medvedev will tour Silicon Valley with a group of CEOs from the IT sector and deliver an early afternoon speech at Stanford University, alma mater to some of the world's high-tech leaders.

Medvedev has stressed repeatedly the importance of modernizing and innovating Russia's economy and, Dvorkovich said, "wants to see it all with his own eyes."

Medvedev will also meet with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a group of Russian citizens in San Francisco, the Kremlin statement said.

In Washington, "the negotiations will concentrate on international security, security agreements and economic issues," Dvorkovich said. "Economic discussions will be broader than before."

Mordashov will head Russia's delegation in WTO discussions, a spokeswoman for the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs told The Moscow Times.

Russia's WTO bid, which has dragged on for 17 years, is being taken seriously and the country's chances of joining the world trade body in the first quarter of next year are high, Somers said.

"Economic reality, which has been refined by the impact of the crisis, has encouraged both countries to look for a new approach and push harder on WTO," he said.

With the U.S. economy recovering from the crisis, its business leaders might be more willing to embrace Medvedev's modernization message and plea for investment in Russia.

"American companies are very genuine about their interest in Skolkovo," Somers said, adding that he expected in-depth talks on a bilateral treaty that would ensure the security of investments between the two countries.

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