Russia-EU Trade up 20 Percent in 2018

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The Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin met with representatives of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) this week, stating that relations between Russia and Europe are now experiencing a renaissance, with trade and investment demonstrating an upward trend, in addition to Russian companies implementing large projects in Europe.

“Russia and Europe are undergoing a renaissance in relations, and the main goal is not to spoil it, but to support the positive trends that exist, maintain cooperation with businesses that work in Russia and with Russia,” he stated.

The minister noted that percentage-wise for the second year in a row mutual trade has seen soaring growth. “If we look at investment dynamics, we will see that now, for example, Russian companies in Europe are implementing a whole set of major investment projects. This includes Nord Stream 2 and construction of nuclear power plants in Hungary and Finland, and cross-border cooperation projects between Russia and the European Union are actively being developed,” Oreshkin added.

He noted that as far as Europe is concerned, relations with Russia are now one of the most significant drivers of economic growth. “The European Union, of course, still remains Russia’s key trading partner. However, we see that despite the fact that our trade with Europe has expanded by 20 percent, growth with China is much stronger, and it is clear that as far as Europe’s relations with Russia is concerned, it could have been higher, had it not been for the events of recent years,” he noted.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates comments: “The sanctions imposed upon Russia have effectively been absorbed and the Russian economy re-calibrated, partly towards Asia. Russia remains a huge market for many European companies, and they have either been relocating to Russia to continue to service the Russian domestic consumer market or have been engaging with Russia via Asia and offshore centers, such as Hong Kong and Singapore. Russia was placed second in Bloomberg’s recent analysis of emerging markets and the economy is now growing faster than that of the EU. It is time for European and Asian businesses to reassess the Russian potential and work out new pathways towards mutually beneficial trade and investment. Russia now has a leaner, more assertive business mindset than prior to the sanctions and this will start to drive Russian investment overseas. But they need partners to help.”

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