“Despite the complexities and difficulties in the UK-Russia relationship the two countries are able to talk to one another at a political level and there are quite a lot of areas for collaboration and cooperation. Both governments support economic and commercial ties between Russian and British business,” Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Russia, HE Deborah Bronnert said at A Conversation with the British Ambassador to Russia webinar arranged by the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Alf Torrents, RBCC Executive Director.
Speaking of the major 2020 challenges, the Ambassador mentioned the ongoing pandemic. “COVID hasn’t certainly gone away. We are very much in the midst of the second wave booth in the UK and in Russia, and it remains a major concern. Even if we expected a second wave, we were hoping the things would be better now but of course it isn’t yet the case, and it continues to be very serious in both in the UK and Russia. It is very hard on individuals as well as on businesses,” she noted. “COVID caused huge loss to both public finance and UK economy.” Trade can no doubt contribute to improving the situation. “Budget for the department of foreign trade has been increased which is a very important signal of the government intent as we approach the end of the transition period with the European Union.”
The UK Embassy in Moscow “will be focused on business opportunities for both Russian and British business. We need to find how to grow our economies while following our common targets and meeting the requirements of tackling dangerous climate change.”
According to Trevor Lewis, Director of Trade and Investment at the British Embassy in Moscow, who was another speaker at the webinar, in 2021 “There is going to be continued implementation of the UK’s new independent trade policy.” In this regard, Russia has certainly a role to play since it is “a good potential market for the UK businesses looking to grow by starting to export or exporting more,” especially as “the UK share of the export market in Russia is much smaller than globally. It is 3.8% in Russia and a global average is about 7.8%.”
The efforts of the Embassy are also aimed at bringing foreign investment to the UK. “Russia in global terms of investment isn’t huge but last year there were 12 investment projects worth about 16 mio pounds and creating some 320 high value jobs,” Trevor Lewis pointed out.