Alexey Ulyukaev: Austria assumes a positive attitude towards overcoming sanctions regime


On February 3, 2016 Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexey Ulyukaev met the Vice Chancellor of Austria, Federal Minister of the Economy, Family and Youth Reinhold Mitterlehner.

The Ministers shared their opinions on trade and economic relations between Russia and Austria, economic development in our countries and perspectives of Russia-EU cooperation.

Before the meeting there was held the 15th session of the joint Russian-Austrian Trade and Economic Cooperation Commission chaired by deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak and the Vice Chancellor of Austria Reinhold Mitterlehner. The parties discussed the questions of energy, transport and tourism. “Yesterday after two-year break there was a session of Intergovernmental Commission. We consider it to be a serious breakthrough,” he noted.

Alexey Ulyukaev noted that Russia-Austria relations were going through a difficult period. “It is reflected both in investment activity of Austrian businessmen and in bilateral trade statistics,” he noted. Following the results of 2015, according to preliminary data, mutual trade volume decrease is 23.7% or up to 3.2 billion US dollars. According to his words, commodity turnover decrease with Austria in 2015 was far less than with EU in general. “I think in 2016 we can expect the decrease in mutual trade to stop and the upward trend to be restored,” said the Head of Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Minister pointed out that despite significant import decrease (by 41.6%) Russian export showed growth (+ 46.0%). “That is how history works: good times do not exist, it is always difficult and we need to work and succeed in any circumstances,” he added.

The Head of Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation said that Austria was one of the most important investors for Russia, the supplier of high-tech equipment, innovations, management technologies. It occupies the 13th place among foreign countries investing in Russian economy. Alexey Ulyukaev pointed out that the sanctions regime impaired Austrian capital receipt to Russia: in the first six months of 2015 inflow of Austrian investments to the Russian Federation decreased a little and amounted to 268 million US dollars (-18%). “The history of our relations comprises not only trade and investments but also science, technology, humanitarian exchanges. We do our best to contribute to our mutual heritage,” he added.

Reinhold Mitterlehner pointed out that Austria intended for development of bilateral trade relations with Russia in spite of the sanctions. “The sanctions led to the limitation of bilateral relations. But these sanctions were approved at the level higher than ours. We are going to take actions against this tendency. That is why I am very glad that yesterday there was held a session of Intergovernmental Commission and the results are optimistic,” he said.

The question of Nord Stream II realization was also discussed as the Head of Austrian gas company took part in the meeting. 10% of the project belong to this company. “We discussed the existing problems and agreed to maintain the project together. It is the project of common interest that enhances the level of energy security in Europe. It is the game where every participant wins,” Alexey Ulyukaev said.

The Head of Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation invited Austrian business to take part in oncoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that will be held on June 16-18, 2016.

During the meeting Austrian businessmen were interested in privatization that had been discussed the day before by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. “I told about existing opportunities and pointed out that we were optimizing our privatization activity in 2016 and were able to offer interesting assets. I invited Austrian business to take part in these projects,” Alexey Ulyukaev said.