SPIEF 2018: France as a guest country
Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation Anton Kobyakov held a meeting in Moscow with French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann. The agenda included comprehensive issues concerning preparations for French President Emmanuel Macron’s participation in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2018) as part of his visit to Russia. A special working group in charge of preparations for the visit made sure all members were on the same page and set objectives for the near future.
Kobyakov stressed the importance of consistently developing a multi‑format cooperation with France as one of Russia’s key partners among member nations of the European Union. There is a solid contractual framework for cooperation between the regions of the two countries, in particular there are roughly 20 agreements on interregional cooperation in effect. As Kobyakov noted, the France’s status as a “guest country” at the SPIEF 2018 will enable the two countries to form new “package-based” understandings and agreements in international economic and cultural cooperation and also present France’s national pavilion at the event.
The meeting specifically focused on a discussion of the SPIEF 2018 business agenda. France proposes preserving the ‘Russia-France’ business dialogue that has already become a tradition as well as holding an event on the sidelines of the Forum within the framework of the ‘Trianon Dialogue’.
The diplomat noted that interest in the Russian market among French businesses has been steadily increasing in recent years. The French business community is expected to be well represented at the Forum.
“Along with the French companies, Medef International, Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Business France, we are preparing an interesting and extensive business programme,” Sylvie Bermann stressed. “I am sure that Russian-French cooperation at all levels and the productiveness of the activities carried out by our joint working group while preparing for and holding the SPIEF will help to promote trade and economic ties and dynamic growth in investment activity between our countries”.
The French pavilion, along with other country pavilions that are to be presented at the Forum, will be one of the most popular and interesting for the general public.
In addition to France, Japan will also present its national exhibition pavilion at the SPIEF 2018. An ‘African Lounge’ is also expected to be set up based on an initiative from the ‘African Business Initiative’ (ABI) Union for Representation of Entrepreneurs’ Interests in Africa. The lounge will serve as a presentation area and a place for business communication between official and business circles of Russia and Africa.
The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will take place on
Trade turnover between Russia and France grew by 15% in 2017. Roughly 1,200 French companies working in Russia have created some 150,000 new jobs in the country.
Energy is one of the top sectors with French companies gaining access to the Russian energy market: Engie plans to take part with Gazprom in the construction of Nord Stream – 2 and Total helped build an LNG plant in Yamal. Renault manufactures cars in Moscow, Togliatti, and Izhevsk. The retail chain Auchan invests in the processing of Russian agricultural products. Great opportunities are emerging in the innovations sector for French companies to invest capital and technologies. Schneider Electric has opened research centres at the Skolkovo and Innopolis technology parks and linked up with the Digital Economy programme, which aims to develop the electronic business environment.
At SPIEF 2017, the Republic of India and the Republic of Serbia were guest countries, in 2016 it was the Italian Republic.