US business is ready to enter Russia, despite the pandemic and sanctions
“Over a long time, businesses of Russia and North America have engaged against all odds and in spite of everything. <...> The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs has consistently and fruitfully cooperated with the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, the American Russian Business Council, and the Canadian Business Association in Russia and Eurasia. <...> Thanks to our joint efforts, American companies are not withdrawing from the Russian market and are also planning to expand their presence in the future,” David Iakobachvili, President, Orion Heritage.
“Despite the COVID epidemic last year, the 160 American companies we received results from invested USD 96 billion, which is more than two years ago. <...> This is a proof that we already have friendships developing, friendships through business and business ties. It is a special kind of friendship that will overcome all the problems,” Alexis Rodzianko, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.
“For the last five years, we have seen the economy grow with very good growth. And although we are exporting 70% of the volume produced, in general last year was a record year for this production, for this site, despite the pandemic. This is a big bonus for the local economy. <...> We are, of course, the channel that leads to global customers. We have four major customers in the world who receive products from the Samara plant. And we plan to increase this volume by 65% in the next five years,” Tim Myers, Chief Executive Officer, Arconic Corporation.
“Over the recent years, Kaluga Region has implemented 220 investment projects with companies from 30 countries. Among these enterprises are American businesses. These include General Electric's service centre for gas turbines, Greif's plant, which produces industrial packaging, Lear's plant, which produces car seats for companies in Kaluga's automotive cluster, and, of course, Huntsman, a leader in the production of polymer materials. The total investment amounted to about RUB 2 billion, and 600 people are employed at these enterprises. But most importantly, none of these companies has left Kaluga Region. Moreover, even in this difficult time – both the pandemic and a period of certain controversies – businesses are planning to develop in the region,” Vladislav Shapsha, Governor of Kaluga Region.
Russia is interested in sustainable political and economic ties with partners in North America
“Our relations with our Western partners, certainly in the USA, but also in Canada, are very important. <...> The more open we are, the more efficient we are. We are not competitors here to a large extent, but partners in so many things,” Boris Titov, Presidential Commissioner of the Russian Federation for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights.
“There are values of a higher order: responsibility for global security and peaceful development, rather than momentary geopolitical conflicts and petty nagging. <...> I expect the Russian leadership to propose a programme of joint action between Russia and the US in the interests of all inhabitants of the planet. This will confirm our commitment to global security and the constructive and peaceful nature of our foreign policy. <...> It requires trust and political will on both sides. And from the business perspective, the absence of borders – both political and economic – is important for the implementation of joint projects,” Andrey Bugrov, Senior Vice President for Sustainable Development, Norilsk Nickel.
Sanctions hinder the development of trade and economic relations
“It is a great surprise for me to learn that the most open market, which always advocates open access to markets, open access to information, to capital, is starting to impose sanctions. <...> Russian producers today cannot supply their products, even those with such unique environmental properties as we do, to the American market. <...> There is no problem to sell it elsewhere, but the farmer in the United States today pays the highest price in the world, this price is somewhere 15–20% higher than in nearby countries,” Alexander Sharabaika, Member of the Management Board, Deputy General Director for Finance and International Projects, PhosAgro.
“Business is in many ways hostage to the political problems that are taking shape today. And this is not entirely fair. <...> The role of business in general is higher than the role it has today in terms of those world processes which are, unfortunately, negative,” Boris Titov, Presidential Commissioner of the Russian Federation for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights.
“Given the severity of the current epidemiological situation, it would be crucial for both countries to cooperate in the distribution of COVID vaccines. In doing so, it is important to abandon national patent protection and discuss plans and modalities for providing the vaccine to the entire world population. This is an extremely ambitious task that requires abandoning national egoism,” Andrey Bugrov, Senior Vice President for Sustainable Development, Norilsk Nickel.
Russia and the US need to cooperate in order to develop business between the two countries, address climate change and meet global challenges
“The two leaders, America and Russia, have not met for a long time. They are meeting in a completely unprecedented aggravated situation. <…> They have said, and I was very pleased to hear them say, that the purpose of this meeting is not to sign big agreements or to build a new missile defense, but simply to add stability and predictability to the relationship between the countries. <...> This is what we, businessmen, need,” Sergey Kravchenko, President, Boeing Russia/CIS.
“Long-term commitments countries have to each other in partnership. <...> There are moments in climate change and global issues that are not only driven by states and governments, but also by technology and business. This is why we need to cooperate on this cooperation. <...> And the conclusion is this. We can do more together than we can do in confrontation,” Daniel Russell, President, Chief Executive Officer, US–Russia Business Council (USRBC).
“We are not in the Cold War era at all, we are far from those times. Of course, relations have changed, but not to that extent,” Alexis Rodzianko, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.
“Carbon fuels are very important, but this intensity of carbon fuels, according to all the studies, shows that we cannot meet the needs of the entire population with this type of energy alone. We need a fuel mix, and we have to move towards it together somehow. And this is where Russia and the United States together can play a key role in developing new technologies to ensure the transition to a variety of energy types or their combination,” Lorenzo Simonelli, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Baker Hughes Company.
“The health sector is an area, which has no borders and should not have any. We talk a lot about the fact that healthcare has been behind geopolitical issues in recent times and always has been, and it should remain so. Moreover, this past year has shown that without a concerted effort to come up with new developments to help us deal with the situation, with the pandemic that we have today and will probably have in the future, it is certainly not possible to do this alone,” Ekaterina Pogodina, Managing Director, Janssen, the Pharmaceutical Division of Johnson & Johnson, Russia & CIS, General Director, Johnson & Johnson LLC.
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