National Coordination Center for Developing Economic Cooperation with the Countries of Asia-Pacific Region (NCC APR) Expanded Meeting with Non-Member Participation “Opportunities and Challenges of Expanding Cooperation with Asia-Pacific Countries”

  • Date: -
  • Venue: Moscow Room, The Ritz-Carlton hotel, 3 Tverskaya str.

On 18 March 2015 an expanded meeting of the National Coordination Center for Developing Economic Cooperation with the Countries of Asia-Pacific Region (NCC APR) was held on the margins of the Russian Business Week. The NCC members, including the NCC Supervisory Board members, representatives of the leading Russian business associations, companies, businesses from Asia-Pacific region, working in Russia, government authorities, academic community discussed the ways to extend Russia-APR cooperation and associated challenges.

In his opening address, RSPP President Alexander Shokhin stated that current efforts to enhance collaboration with APR are necessitated not only by the current geo-economic and geopolitical trends but primarily by the need to extend economic ties between Russia and the countries of the region. Dr. Shokhin noted, that despite a 7 percent fall in Russian foreign trade in 2014, volume of trade with the APEC countries grew by 1.3 percent, amounting to 27 percent of the total amount of Russian trade. He said that although Russian companies took part in a number of projects in the APR countries there was still much untapped potential for bilateral cooperation in the region. He also emphasized the importance of scaling up Russia’s participation in regional multilateral institutions, including APEC, ASEAN on such issues as ensuring connectivity, creation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), promoting the use of APEC Business Travel Cards. Dr. Shokhin emphasized that attracting foreign investors from APR countries into the Russian Far East and Eastern Siberia regions, as well as promoting Russian companies’ joint ventures with their APR counterparts in the third countries, remained ultimate priorities for Russia.

The discussion moderator, Deputy Minister of Economic Development Stanislav Voskresensky stated that elaborating the business agenda, i.e. concrete proposals for the government bodies aimed at promoting Russian goods on the APR markets, attracting investments, reducing barriers, and amplifying broad economic cooperation, constituted the primary objective of the NCC. Mr. Voskresensky pointed at the indicators of current low level of Russia-APR economic interaction: Russian share in the imports of Asian countries is less than 2 percent, Russian share in the Asian external investments and Russian share in the Asian banks portfolio are less than 1 percent.

He also informed the participants about the creation of an ombudsman office within the Ministry of Economic Development tasked with protecting rights of investors from the APR countries. The deputy minister noted the size of region’s economies and their potential, stating that it would be irresponsible to miss the opportunities offered by such rapid growth.

The KPMG Chairman and Managing Partner in Russia and CIS Oleg Goshchansky devoted his presentation to exploring the potential for cooperation between Russia and Asian countries. He particularly noted the necessity to diversify cooperation and move away from the current situation when oil and gas constituted up to 70 percent of Russia’s imports to Asia, while machinery accounted for only 1 percent.

FESCO Transportation Group Vice-President Konstantin Kuzovkov addressed the use of Russia’s competitive advantages in its cooperation with the APR countries, primarily in transport and logistics, and underscored the systemic need to develop Russian-APR cooperation, regardless of the changing trends.

The Head of Moscow Representative Office, Japan Association for Trade with Russia and NIS (ROTOBO) Takafumi Nakai presented the data and recommendations on enhancing Russia-Japan economic ties.

President of the Chinese Entrepreneur Association in Russia Zai Guizhu told the audience of a great interest of Chinese business in cooperation with Russia and took note of several concrete steps to facilitate trade and investments from China.

Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Maxim Shereykin expressed certainty that the Eastern Economic Forum, which is to be held in August 2015, would present a venue for the NCC work. Mr. Shereykin’s presentation was devoted to creation of favorable business environment for investors in the Far East.

Director of the Department for Trade Negotiations of the Ministry of Economic Development Maxim Medvedkov reported on the instruments for trade and investment cooperation between Russia and the APR countries, such as bilateral agreements, ensuring protection of investors’ interests. He also noted the necessity to engage more actively in such mechanisms as free trade agreements, trade liberalization initiatives and the concrete projects implemented within APEC meeting the interests of Russian companies.

Tigers’ Realm Coal CEO Craig Parry and Vice President and General Manager of Moscow Representative Office of Kinross Gold Corporation Lou Naumovski presented Tigers’ Realm Coal and Kinross Gold Corporation experience respectively in mining activities in the Russian Far East.

President of Boeing Russia/CIS Sergey Kravchenko devoted the presentation to his company’s activities in the APR countries and its experience in cooperation with Russia.

The Country Managing Partner for Russia of Ernst & Young Alexander Ivlev’s presentation revolved around the expectations and reality of economic cooperation with the APR countries. Mr. Ivlev particularly pointed out foreign investors’ difficulties in Russia.

Ambassador-at-large, Russia’s APEC Senior Official Valery Sorokin outlined the opportunities for Russian businesses to get engaged in the projects implemented within the APEC.

CEO of Amsted Rail in Russia and the CIS Marcus Montenecourt provided several examples of successful cooperation with Russian companies and told about the use of Russian industrial capacities to produce goods for export, including to the APR countries.

President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow Alexis Rodzianko stated that American companies are active in the region and revealed one company’s experience in attaining positive results in Russia by redirecting its supply chain towards the Asia-Pacific region.

In conclusion Alexander Shokhin took note of several concrete proposals put forward by the participants, and announced the prompt holding of the NCC APR Supervisory Board, which would approve the working plan for the second half of the year of 2015 and beyond, taking into consideration the results of the discussion.