February 21, 2003 -- The United States ambassador to Russia joined leaders of NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies and the Russian printing industries February 11 for ceremonies launching of the new NPES-managed Eurasia Sales and Service Center for Graphic Communications Technologies. The goal of the project is to provide a convenient location for printers and distributors in Russia and neighboring Eurasian countries to see demonstrations of the latest U.S. technology and receive training and assistance with service and parts.
The Russian printing industry grew 25 percent in 2001, and 12 percent in 2002, to sales of $2.5 billion. Russia imported about $500 million worth of printing, publishing and converting equipment and consumables in 2002, according to figures from the Russian Printing Industry Association.
The ceremony marking the signing of a formal agreement to create the new center took place at the Academy of Printing Sciences in Moscow. The United States Trade and Development Agency has provided a $164,600 grant to the Russian Printing Industry Association to create the facility, in an agreement that names NPES as the sole contractor to establish and manage the Center. NPES is responsible for selecting and equipping the site, hiring staff, organizing training seminars and demonstrations, and recruiting U.S. suppliers and Eurasian distributors to participate as Center partners.
"The U.S. and Russian printing industries and associations have a fifteen-year history of cooperation, and the opening of this center with U.S. government support will forge even closer commercial bonds between our industries," said Ambassador Alexander R. Vershbow.
He also commended NPES "for demonstrating to other U.S. associations that good commercial opportunities and partnerships can be found and developed in Russia."
NPES President Regis J. Delmontagne, speaking at the signing ceremony, noted it took place on the 300th anniversary of the establishment of Russia’s first newspaper, by Tsar Peter the Great. "Peter was committed to modernity, literacy, and a better life for his people," Delmontagne said. "Print has always gone hand in hand with freedom and social progress, and we believe it always will do so.
"This agreement, and the facility we will soon build together, are tangible proof of our shared commitment to a better future," he added.
Speaking of the grants program administered by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Ambassador Vershbow said these grants "create a ‘win-win’ situation for U.S. exporters, service providers and potential Russian partners to work more closely together. And by making these grants, the U.S. Government demonstrates its strong commitment to building partnerships between U.S. and Russian businesses, serving the interests of both economies."
Also participating in the ceremony were Boris Kuzmin, President of the Russian Printing Industry Association, Deputy Minister of Printing and Mass Media Vladimir Gregoriev, the USTDA Representative for Russia Rachael Turner and an audience of both American and Russian printing industry leaders.
"We are pleased to witness and support this Center to introduce new American printing and publishing technologies into the fast-growing Russian industry to meet its demand for competitive, quality products for all segments of our industry," Gregoriev said.
Kuzmin added: "I am very pleased to see the 15-year fruitful relationship between NPES and the Russian Printing Industry Association culminate today in the signing of a business contract to work together to supply the technologies of NPES member companies to meet the demands of Russian dealers, printers, publishers and manufacturers through new business relationships."
TDA’s funding of the project covers the project’s set up and first year of operation, during which time it is expected to transition to self-sustaining operations using participation fees from U.S. suppliers and Eurasian distributors. The project will be under the direction of Kuzmin, NPES Market Representative for the region Leonid Shakhmundes and NPES Director of International Trade Michael Hurley. For more information and details on how to participate, contact Hurley at 703/264-7200 or e-mail [email protected]