Russia favors settlements between countries in national currencies – PM

In the run-up to the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit and the 14th East Asia Summit, the Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev gave an interview to Thailand’s Bangkok Post daily, government website reported, citing Medvedev as noting that “From 2009 to 2013 Russia’s trade with the ASEAN countries doubled to $17.5 bln. A temporary lull after such a jump forward occurred against the backdrop of complicated processes in the global economy and anti-Russia sanctions. Nevertheless, even these negative factors have not changed the long-term trend. In 2018, trade already approached $20 bln. We would like to maintain this dynamics, especially given that the potential for business cooperation is far from realized.”

According to the Prime Minister, there are “prospects in many areas, not only in the exchange of low-VAT goods but also in high technology trade. For instance, talks are underway with some ASEAN countries on the construction of new centers for nuclear science and technology. In particular, Rosatom nuclear state corporation’s subsidiaries are carrying out a project on designing and building a cyclotron radiochemical complex in Thailand which is also interested in building floating nuclear stations. This is a large and very promising area. In particular, it helps develop remote territories.”

“Creation of a transnational smart city network may open vast opportunities, primarily for bridging the digital gap between countries and regions. At a recent industry-specific exhibition in Singapore in 2018, Russian companies showed what they can offer their Asian partners. Last March, our ASEAN partners participated in the international forum Smart City. Instructions for Use held in Russia’s Kaluga. They expressed special interest in Russian developments in online government services, the digitalization of an urban economy and the upgrading of the housing and transport infrastructure,” Medvedev said. “This is not a complete list of promising projects. Modern technological developments allow us to talk not so much about geographical spaces but about functional spaces. They may be based on our common information, energy and other technological solutions and artificial intelligence projects. This is why business cooperation based on such an approach will not be impeded by long distances because it isn’t necessary to send programs or solutions by sea or rail.”

In his view, “Consolidation of interregional cooperation can make a large contribution to trade expansion. We actively encourage our regions and regional businesses to enter foreign markets, especially with a view to developing the Russian Far East. These efforts are already bearing fruit. The fifth Eastern Economic Forum, held in Vladivostok in September, set a new record for the number of participants – over 8,500 people from 65 countries – and for the total amounts of allocated investment – $52 bln for the implementation of different economic modernization projects in the Asian part of Russia.”

He specifically noted that “Russia is continuously improving the terms for doing business, which has substantially affected its position in the Doing Business rankings. Russia has moved up three positions to 28th place. Russia is opening modern industrial and technology parks with a favorable environment for innovation companies; it has established priority development territories and is drafting new legislation to enhance guarantees of stability for business when launching new major projects.”

“The market for the sale of commodities and services is expanding due to the development of the Eurasian Economic Union,” Dmitry Medvedev said. “Finances are yet another area with strong potential for promoting trade. Importantly, this includes not only traditional instruments of support for trade transactions (loan facilities, letters of credit, etc.) but in general the transition to settlements between countries in national currencies. This step will reduce costs and risks from currency fluctuations, which will increase the revenues of companies and the scale of trade in general.”

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