Enhancing business ties with Russia through regulatory, business and tourism cooperation
On Sunday 16 June Vice President Antonio Tajani traveled to Russia accompanied by a 120 strong business delegation composed of representatives of companies and industry associations from 23 Member States.
Collectively they represent approximately 2.5 million employees and 718 billion in turnover, more than the GDP of both Poland and Romania. This visit was part of the "Missions for Growth" to help European enterprises, in particular small and medium sized enterprises, to better profit from fast growing emerging international markets. The visit, held from 16 to 18 June, intended to reinforce partnerships to help industry and SMEs to fully exploit the commercial relations potential between Russia and the EU. This specific Mission is characterised by a significant growth in the geographical spread of the business delegation and by the fact that 65 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) were on the delegation, a group twice as large as the group of big companies. European and national business associations make up around 20 % of the delegation.
During his visit from Vice President Tajani met with the Minister of Industry and Trade Manturov, the Minister of Economic Development Belousov and the Minister of Culture Medinsky.
The meetings in Moscow with Ministers Manturov and Belousov intended to further enhance current bilateral dialogues on industrial and enterprise policy, and on regulatory issues such as standardisation, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.
Vice President Tajani and Minister Belousov have confirmed their strong interest to deepen co-operation on SME and business environment issues, which is a rising issue on Russia's policy agenda. Co-operation between Tajani and Manturov focuses on broadening the group of industrial sectors covered by the dialogues and on developing joint initiatives to fight counterfeiting.
Following the meetings in Moscow on 17 June, the Vice President met the Russian culture Minister Medinsky in St Petersburg on 18 June, to sign - on the occasion of a high level event "Tourism and High-End Industries as an engine for growth" - a Letter of Intent which launches a new dialogue on tourism policy. This is an important new area of co-operation started at the initiative of Vice President Tajani, where both sides will stand to gain from efforts to enhance tourist flows, as well as from the co-operation of experts and associations in areas including the development of quality tourism services, tourism statistics, as well as education and training in tourism. The co-operation intends to boost people-to-people contacts between the European Union and the Russian Federation.
Following the signature, there was a special policy seminar to address the issue of luxury industry as a driving factor in boosting tourism exchanges with Russia, given the strong interest of tourists from non-EU countries in the "brands" tradition and good reputation of the European high-end industry.
The Mission’s overall objective was the enhancement of the growth and competitiveness of European industry by better exploiting growth potential in non-EU countries - in this case the growing economy of Russia - the reinforcement of economic co-operation and reforms, to help EU companies to access the Russian market, as well as the deepening of bilateral policy co-operation in various policy fields.
Vice President Tajani, accompanied by numerous European and national industry associations, and companies, also used the Mission to address regulatory challenges in the Russian market. He articulated EU best practices in improving the business environment, in particular for SME's, an issue which is climbing on the Russian policy agenda.
Data on Russia
Surface Area: 16.376,9 103 sq. km
Population: 141.9 million (2012)
GDP in 2012: € 2.022 billion (estimates after 2012)
Russian GDP per capita in 2012: € 14.246,8 (estimates after 2012)
GDP by sector in 2011 (Value added, % of GDP): Services (58,7%); Industry (37,0%); Agriculture (4,3%)
EU exports in goods to Russia in 2012: € 123.2 billion
Russian exports in goods to the EU in 2012: € 213.3 billion
EU commercial services exports to Russia in 2011: € 24 billion
Russian commercial services exports to the EU in 2011: € 14.2 billion
Russia exports to the EU
EU is the main trading partner of Russia followed by China and Ukraine. The European market absorbs 22.2% of Russia's total exports. Russia is the EU’s most important single supplier in terms of energy products, accounting for over 29% of the EU consumption of oil and gas, and the European Union is the most important destination for Russia’s energy exports, accounting for more than three quarters of imports. In 2011, 79% of Russia’s exports into the EU consisted of crude oil, oil products and natural gas. Russia’s economy remains very dependent on the export of energy raw materials.
Russia imports from the EU
EU is the major import partner of Russia. In 2011 the imports from the EU to Russia accounted for 16% of the total import to the Russian market. The EU is the first source of imports to Russia followed by China and Ukraine.
EU exports to Russia
Russia is the third trading partner of the EU after the United States and China. Since 2009 the EU exports to Russia have increased steadily. The EU exports to Russia represent 7.3% of the total EU exports in the world thus in terms of major export partners for the EU, Russia ranks number 4.
EU imports from Russia
Import from Russia to the EU represents 11.9% of the total imports to the European market so that Russia ranks number 2 in terms of EU major import partners.
As a whole, EU is very important for Russia (ranked 1 as origin of Russia imports, and 1 as destination for its exports) and Russia represents also an important market of the EU in terms of exports (rank 4) and imports (rank 2).
Trade between the two economies showed steep growth rates until mid-2008 when the trend was interrupted by the economic crisis and unilateral measures adopted by Russia, which had a negative impact on EU-Russia trade. Since 2010 mutual trade has resumed its growth reaching record levels in 2011.
EU Investment in Russia
The EU is the most important investor in Russia. It is estimated that up to 75% of Foreign Direct Investment stocks in Russia come from EU Member States.
Estimations on Russian economy
GDP growth is expected to be 3.6% in 2013 and 3.9% in 2014, gradually levelling up at 3.8% in 2015.1 After a slowdown of GDP growth last year from 4% in 1Q2012 to 1.7% in 4Q2012, industrial output declined (for the first time since October 2009), by 1.2% in January 2013.