Alexey Ulyukaev: There is no German businessman who is going to curtail their activity in Russia
On November 10, 2015 Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexey Ulyukaev met the businessmen from Baden-Württemberg (Germany). German delegation was led by Honorary Consul of Russia for Baden-Württemberg Klaus Mangold. The representatives of the following German companies took part in the event: Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Rus, Robert Bosch GmbH, Trumpf GmbH & Co. KG and others.
The participants of the meeting discussed the current state of trade and economic relations between two countries, the measures taken by Russian government for improvement of investment climate and the perspectives of bilateral cooperation.
“We have got over the hump,” Alexey Ulyukaev noted opening the meeting. “We see the evidences of the contacts being restored.” According to the Minister, Germany, as before, is one of three main trading partners of Russia in the world and in Europe it has a strong lead. During last five years mutual trade has been growing at a record pace, the peak was in 2013. Nevertheless, according to Russian experts, the first nine months of 2015 showed the decrease of about 35%. “Such indicators do not certainly meet the interests both of Germany and of Russia,” the Minister noted.
The Head of Russian Ministry of Economic Development marked that versus the decrease of mutual trade there was a certain growth of direct investments from Germany into Russian economy. “We are glad that the investment activity of German companies in Russia has not stopped. May be it is not so vigorous as it used to be but 2015 is better than 2014. The increase of direct investments is evident,” he added.
The participants of the meeting brought up a topic of the impact of the sanctions on the trade and economic relations between Germany and Russia. “The current situation contradicts the essence of market relations and free competition because it makes the economic situation in our countries harder, reduces consumer demand, limits access to funding, credit activity and, eventually, leads to unrealized projects and job losses in our countries,” Alexey Ulyukaev said. At the same time Russia is ready to be responsible towards her foreign partners and investors. The Minister noted that our country was ready to render every assistance at every stage of investment projects realization.
The Head of Russian Ministry of Economic Development informed the partners about the current macroeconomic environment. He told that the lowest point of Russian economy decrease had been passed in June-July, in September and October there had been an inconsiderable growth in respect of seasonal element absence. “From July onwards monthly dynamics without seasonal element does not show decrease, September and October show even growth. The lowest point is 3.8% of GDP decrease following the results of the third quarter. It is not going to be worse. The fourth quarter is expected to be better than the third one. We think that beginning from the second quarter of the next year the indicator to corresponding period of last year will become positive,” the Minister said.
Alexey Ulyukaev noted that the improvement of economic situation would be possible ‘due to a gradual recovery of consumer demand, restoring of business inventories and then restoring of investment activity.’
“Banking system restored regarding funding the deposits of our citizens and companies; here the growth is 15%. From July onwards the growth of credit portfolio has begun, though slowly,” he added.
The Minister emphasized that Germany remained a strategic partner of Russia in trade and economic relations. “The question is not only in the trade volume but in the level of German business involvement into Russian economy. German businessmen were among the first ones who entered Russian market in the early 1990s and together with us they went through all the stages of development of market economy in Russia and contributed to it,” he said.
He expressed the hope that Russia had been and remained a very interesting market for German industry in the long run. “Our main task in relations with all the partners is to maintain confidence and continue realization of the current projects,” the Minister informed.
Honorary Consul of Russia for Baden-Württemberg Klaus Mangold assured Alexey Ulyukaev that German business would go on working in Russia. “We must work on the market that has always been one of the most important for us. We all should do everything to overcome the effects of the crisis, leave it behind. I think we’ll succeed,” he said. Honorary Consul noted that the policy of import substitution industrialization realized by Russia was a chance that we had got because of crisis. “I think many Russian companies will realize that mainly due to cooperation with German business the technologies will come to Russia sooner. You have to realize import substitution industrialization faster. And you can make it easier not alone but in cooperation with German companies,” Klaus Mangold said.
The Head of German delegation informed that in the coming months German business community would make every effort to change the sanctions regime and to make it as soft as possible. “I think that we need to restore normal relations as soon as possible and if we succeed the lowest point of the crisis will, I am sure, be overcome and we shall reach the end of the tunnel where we see light,” he noted. “We are not pessimistic about the future. We’ll be able to continue the tradition of our friendship ties.”
At the end of the meeting Alexey Ulyukaev invited German businessmen to take part in the jubilee St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that will be held in a new place, Expoforum Convention and Exhibition Centre. “I invite you from June 16 till June 18, 2016 to take part in the leading business communication event of Russia and to learn more about its new exhibitional opportunities,” he said.