Russia, Japan Working Together to Intensify Mutual Business Activites
Russia and Japan are bracing to boost economic cooperation, in accordance with a plan by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The plan presumes intensifying bilateral economic ties in eight fields, including energy, small and medium business, industrialization in Russia’s Far East and improving exports.
However, there are certain difficulties to cooperate with Japan, an expert said.
"Probably, it would be easy to work with Japan if it could act more independently from the United States, Tokyo’s biggest trade partner. I don’t think that the removal of anti-Russian sanctions could facilitate Russian-Japanese economic cooperation," Alexei Repik, head of the Russian-Japanese Business Council, told Sputnik.
According to him, until recently Russian and Japanese companies have not paid much attention to building business ties. Focus was usually put on mega-projects, first of all in energy, while non-energy fields were downplayed.
"More Japanese companies should come to work in Russia. And more Russian companies should start working in Japan. We need to build a 'double-lane bridge' between Russian and Japanese companies," Repik said.
In order to establish such cooperation, both country should improve conditions for investors and make changes to legal procedures.
"Investment projects should be in priority. Earlier this year, over 50 Russian projects were presented at the Russian-Japanese Business Council. Japan is now closely monitoring those initiatives," he added.
The fact that Japanese companies are interested in working with Russia became especially visible at the recently held Coaltrans Japan 2016 international conference. The current environment in the Japanese energy market is that there is still high demand for coal. This is why the third stage of construction of the Russian coal port Vostochny in the Far East.
In nine months of 2016, nearly four million tons of coal were exported via the port to Japan, a 28.8 percent increase against the previous year. The competitive capabilities of the Russian port are very high. In addition to transportation services, Vostochny has facilities for blending and magnetic cleaning of coil.
When the third stage of construction is completed the port is expected to become the largest and the most advanced coal terminal providing exports to the Asian-Pacific Region. Among those interested in the project are such Japanese energy giants as Kobelco Kobe Steel Group, Sumitomo, Mitsui and Mitsubishi Co RtM Japan.
While large corporations have capabilities and experience of working with Russia, there are a number of obstacles for small and medium business. Recently, the Russian-Japanese Business Council and Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation) signed a cooperation agreement. The document focuses on providing support for investment activities by Japanese companies in Russia and Russian companies in Japan.
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