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Thursday, July 20, 2017

In St. Petersburg ended forum

Concluded in St. Petersburg the SPIEF can be called a forum of great hopes and small disappointments. There were a lot of practical advice, but few positive signals for investors.

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

In the halls of the forum was much hope for a warming of relations between Russia and Europe. “This relationship can be restored,” — said during his speech at the forum the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. About the importance of dialogue with Russia was spoken and the Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi. In General, unofficially everyone was waiting for the statements that the sanctions regime is relaxed.

However, once again (recall that the sanctions imposed immediately after Moscow failed to stop the offensive of the DPR and LPR in the Southeast of Ukraine) the words of European leaders about the friendship went about their business. During the forum came the bad news: on the official portal of the European Union there was a message on the extension of sanctions against Crimea and Sevastopol until June 23, 2017. The EU has taken a preliminary decision to extend sanctions against Russia for six months. Officially it will declare at a summit on June 28-29.

Despite the machinations of European politicians, in St. Petersburg landed a large delegation of heads of global corporations. Among them — the CEO of BP, Robert Dudley, the head of Total Patrick Pouyanne, chief Executive officer, Eni, Claudio Descalzi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nestle, Peter Brabeck, the head of ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson, the head of the project Hyperloop Dirk Ahlborn, a large investor Jim Rogers and many others. Interest in cooperation with Russia is still large. Especially in the field of energy, engineering, IT, food industry and agriculture.

In addition to the Central event — the plenary session “On the threshold of a new economic reality” with the participation of presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan attracted the attention of a business Breakfast entitled “Life after oil”. It is here that the organizers managed to bring together heads of the Ministry of Finance Anton Siluanov and the Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev, to enjoy their intellectual disputes. The Ministers called for an end to “guessing on oil, but has invested in these appeals are quite different sense. In addition, Siluanov has proposed to introduce a new fiscal rule. According to the speaker, not the fiscal rule, and the correct budget.

The forum remained, and a number of loud statements. So, former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin in the course of business Breakfast, “Life after oil” hurled arrows of criticism of the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance. In his opinion, “the collapse of the national currency — it is a shame for the economic authorities. This means that we can not create stable conditions for business and export. The basic owner “Severstal” Alexey Mordashov, for the sake of stimulating domestic demand unexpectedly suggested businessmen to raise salaries to workers. And Deputy Minister of economic development Alexei Likhachev reported that the first five months of this year, exports of agricultural products from Russia increased five times.

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