№19. Round table “Economic interaction between Russia and foreign business through the eyes of the CCI and business associations”

Published: March 30th, 2017

Until recently, the volume of trade between the Russian Federation and the countries of Europe and Asia has steadily grown, investment and business activity of foreign business in our country has increased, but unfavorable economic factors and sanctions have led to a decline in interaction. However, the elective cycle can change the political landscape. Brexit, the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the mood in the coming elections in many countries clearly demonstrate the possibility of a change in policy and discontent with politics, including economic sanctions.

The experts of the International Economic Forum have estimated what has changed in relation to foreign business to Russia over the past year, and will try to predict what changes may bring in 2017. These issues were dedicated to the round table " Economic interaction between Russia and foreign business through the eyes of the CCI and business associations", which has been held on March 30 in Shuvalov Housing of Moscow State University.

The moderator of the roundtable was the Russian economist, political scientist, publicist, public figure, member of the MEF Organizational Committee of Andrey Kobyakov.

Speaking about sanctions, he noted that Russian business supports them in many respects because of noncompetitiveness in comparison with European business. "We know what subsidies the agricultural business in Europe receives and what advantages it has against the backdrop of Russian business. We would like to receive some elements that would level the position of our business, "the political scientist emphasized," if we pay attention to the same key interest rate, the reverse process is happening ".

Deputy Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation Vladimir Padalko said that in connection with the sanctions policy irreplaceable losses of the Russian economy amounted to $ 250 billion. Since 2014, the vector of activity of the Russian economy has turned to the Asian side, and the key now are the relations with China and partners from ASEAN. The cooling of relations with the West affected relations with Near and Middle East, North Africa, while the turnover in European countries fell, but relations did not stop. Padalko believes that it is not worthwhile to count on the lifting of sanctions, but to keep the economy afloat it is necessary to maintain exports, as well as maintain friendly relations with Europe by the chambers of commerce and industry. Now it is possible to do it, however, due to political reasons, the statistics of commodity turnover remains disappointing.

The general director of the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Russia, Oleg Prozorov, spoke about the problem of making transactions at the level of banks, administrations and customs, which is a serious obstacle for doing business with Europe. At the same time, in comparison with 2015, according to him, there is some recovery. In particular, interest in the Russian regions to cooperate with Europe has grown significantly, despite the fact that the problem of informing European colleagues about the investment opportunities in Russia remains.

Commercial director of the French-Russian Chamber of Commerce Tom Keruel noted the preservation of the quantitative diversity and diversity of French companies in the Russian market: "There is a decline in trade turnover between countries, but companies remain and the trend is that cooperation continues. For the third year by some estimates, France is the first foreign investor in Russia, we are very proud of it. «At the same time, the image of Russia in France, according to the businessman, remains difficult, and how our country will manage it can seriously affect further economic relations.

The deputy head of the Swiss Business Support Center in Russia, Julie Bechtold, is convinced that the difficulties associated with the fall of the ruble and the growth of the franc will not prevent the growth of bilateral trade in 2017. At the same time, now the main representative office in Russia has large Swiss companies that are present in our market for a long time, there are still few new players. A guest from Italy Vittorio Torrembini noted the same trend.

Summing up the discussion, Andrei Kobyakov outlined a positive vector of the roundtable - a decrease in participants' interest in sanctions, which indicates the peak of negative expectations associated with them.