VII Session 2009

RUSSIA – UK INTERGOVERNMENTAL STEERING COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND INVESTMENT
5 November 2009, London

Joint Statement

1. The 2009 meeting of the Russia- UK Intergovernmental Steering Committee on Trade and Investment (ISC) was held in London on 5 November. The event was co-chaired by Lord Mandelson, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, for the United Kingdom and Alexey Kudrin, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, for the Russian Federation. The Committee supported the continuation of the ISC as a constructive forum for addressing the issues most pressing to the respective business communities. It welcomed the high-level dialogue and progress to date since the previous sides in Moscow in 2008.

2. Both sides committed to further strengthening bilateral trade, investment and economic relations, already functioning at a high level. They shared their experiences of supporting the economy during the global financial crisis and plans to stimulate recovery. They recognised the important role of both government and business in strengthening these relations. The Committee discussed progress in the six key areas already identified in which co-operation between the business communities could significantly improve bilateral trade and investment prospects.
These were:

Financial services
Business environment
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
Energy and energy efficiency
High-tech industry, including nano-technology
Olympic legacy

Financial Services

3. The UK and Russia have a long-established and successful financial services relationship. The UK is consistently among the top five largest investors in Russia. Prior to the crisis, Russian companies accounted for the single largest share of IPOs on the London Stock Exchange. Developing this relationship is vital for business success.

4. The UK reiterated its support for Russia’s ambitions of developing Moscow as an international financial centre. The UK congratulated Russia on its successful International Investment event held in London in parallel with the ISC meeting.

5. Both sides commended the strong relationship between the Bank of England and the Central Bank of Russia, bolstered by the joint seminars and conferences. The Committee welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding between Partnerships UK and VneshEconomBank, allowing constructive co-operation in the field of public-private partnerships.

Business Environment

6. Both governments support efforts to improve their respective business climate, engaging in a constructive debate with the business communities. The Committee acknowledged the need to improve market access; the legislative and regulatory environment affecting investors and business generally; and Customs and visa operations. The Committee reaffirmed support for the commitments of the G20 Summits to guard against protectionism in trade.

SMEs

7. During a period of critical transition from crisis to recovery, the Committee recognised the importance of supporting SMEs, a vital segment of business for the sustainable development of both economies. There was particular focus on how the regions in both countries could benefit from the development of policies supportive of new SMEs and that reduction of the administrative burden on existing SMEs was important in encouraging the diversification of Russia’s developing manufacturing sector through innovation. The UK side offered some insight into how tailoring particular mechanisms, such as taxation, could offer the best support to SMEs. The Russian side drew attention to their recently allocated funds for investment in SMEs

Energy and Energy Efficiency

8. As a direct result of the last ISC meeting, the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) and the RSPP (Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists) have forged a strong partnership to promote to their membership and governments, the business as well as environmental benefits of energy efficiency.

9. As a signal of commitment to supporting implementation of energy efficiency measures, the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and the Russian Minister of Energy signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in October 2009. This MoU will complement and support work in the sector including that led by CBI and RSPP.

10. The UK and Russian nuclear industry bodies will explore ways in which the two industries can co-operate in civil nuclear matters.

High-Tech Industry

11. The Committee supported enhanced co-operation in high technology industries. The Committee welcomed the visit of Russia’s hi-tech-focused corporation, RusNano, to explore several possible joint ventures with UK companies, following a successful visit to the UK’s Science Institute at Begbroke Park earlier this year. The Committee looked forward to the subsequent visit to the UK by the head of RusNano later in 2009.

Olympic Legacy

12. The UK will host the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Russia will host the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Committee were encouraged by the good working links between the two host nations to ensure knowledge and expertise were shared in developing sports infrastructure suitable for use post-Olympics and Games management. The respective governments have supported this exchange, signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the Olympic Legacy earlier this year.

Forward Look

13. Plans to continue the dialogue received comprehensive support from the business communities and the Governments. The committee encouraged further co-operation in trade and investment at the regional level, noting the significant scope for potential development. It agreed to identify permanent leads in both countries for coordination of each workstream in advance of the next meeting of the Deputy Co-chairs early in 2010. The next formal ISC meeting will take place in Russia in 2010.

SC Co-chair (UK) ISC Co-chair (Russia)
Lord Mandelson Alexey Kudrin
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