The 4th Russian–British Business Forum, a major
annual business event in London, brought together over 800 participants
and 50 high-profile speakers representing businesses, government organizations, and development institutions from both countries. According to expert forecasts,
the trade turnover between Russia and Great Britain will continue to
grow through the end of 2018 to approximately USD 14 billion.
London, 26 November 2018 – The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre hosted the annual Russian–British
Business Forum (RBBF), which has, for the fourth year in a row, served
as a platform for discussions, presentations of Russian developments,
and the signing of bilateral agreements. The theme of this year’s forum
was ‘Partnership in Innovation’, driving discussions in four panel
sessions, two roundtables, and a networking lunch for Russian startups
and international investors and banks. RBBF is held under the aegis of
the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and is
organized together with the Roscongress Foundation and 30 other Russian and international partners.
Following the sanction-related fall-off, economic
relations between Russia and the UK have been developing gradually for
the past two years, seeing a growth of approximately 20% per annum.
Support for small and medium-sized businesses entering the markets in
Russia and the UK, the stimulation of new projects in the non-energy
non-commodity sectors, fostering investment and industrial projects in
Russia’s regions – all of this is a part of our work with the United Kingdom
– said Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov.
According to the results of the first three quarters of
2018, Russia is first among all of Britain’s trade partners with respect
to the growth rate of their trade turnover (the growth rate of Russian
exports amounts to 34.5%). Total trade turnover between the two
countries for the January to September period increased by 20.2% as a
result of Russian hydrocarbon exports, as well as Russian non-energy
non-commodity exports (metals, chemicals, fertilisers, turbines,
seafood, etc.). As usual, the United Kingdom saw a trade deficit with
Russia this year in the amount of USD 4.8 billion. If these trends
continue, the trade turnover for 2018 should amount to approximately USD
In the interest of developing cooperation in the high-tech
sector, the forum included presentations of new products and solutions
from Russian companies: a VR/IoT rehab platform from Motorica, Center
2M’s first machine vision solution using the IBM technology base
(developed together with IBM), and the new areas of development for the
Republic of Tatarstan’s PharmMedPolis project.
The documents signed at RBBF included an agreement between
AgroSila and Househam Sprayers Ltd regarding the supply of agricultural
equipment and localized manufacturing, an
agreement between the Russian Export Centre and Supply Finder regarding
the promotion of Russian products and services on the international
market and investor attraction, and an agreement between GetTransfer and
BSI UK regarding the provision of transport services for clients in the
UK. Representatives of over 70 Russian and British companies were able
to hold business meetings in the special RBBF Matchmaking zone.
Moreover, as part of the networking lunch, Russian high-tech startups,
including startups funded by Lanit Ventures, Skolkovo, and Pulsar, had
talks with representatives from Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Barclay’s,
LLB Investment, Citigroup, and other financial institutions.
Despite current differences, there are a significant
number of issues that unite Moscow and London. The two countries have a
variety of well-established cultural, scientific, and trade and
investment ties. Roscongress supports the Russian–British
Business Forum because the Foundation acts as the initiator of similar
international discussion formats for leading forums such as SPIEF, EEF,
and the IBC. Forums have a cumulative effect on business and society and
help bring us back to the formats of dialogue, collaboration, and
cooperation. I am convinced that we must avoid highlighting differences
and making arguments ‘for’ and ‘against’ direct contact between Russian
and British entrepreneurs and instead make use of our common sense and
good will, lest, as once was once said by Winston Churchill, we ‘open a
quarrel between the past and the present [and] find that we have lost
remarked Roscongress Foundation CEO Alexander Stuglev.
Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in the United Kingdom Boris Abramov noted:
It’s currently favourable for Russia to purchase a wide
range of goods and services. We aim to make trade cooperation familiar
and easy to understand for Russian companies as well as British ones. As
a platform for establishing dialogues between companies in various
industries and discussing real examples of successful business
interactions and challenges in today’s Russian and British market, RBBF
serves as a positive indicator of the real nature of business relations.
This year, RBBF has focused on Russia’s export potential
in the high-tech sector, creative industries, and the service industry.
At the exhibition’s Made in Russia stand, the Russian Export Centre and
Skolkovo presented high-tech products from Russian companies working in
banking services, client services, corporate IT solutions, and tourism. Seventeen Russian companies, including Heedbook, VidiGuide, SwitchSales and BoardMaps, presented their products at the stand.
RBBF 2018 saw speeches from His Royal Highness Prince
Michael of Kent, FIDE President and Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation
Council Arkady Dvorkovich, Deputy Minister of Digital Development,
Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation Maxim Parshin,
Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov,
President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, ASI General Director Svetlana
Chupsheva, Chairman of the Management Board of Soyuzmultfilm Yuliana
Slashcheva, as well as executives and representatives of the UK
Department for International Trade, the UK National Health Service,
Aeroflot – Russian Airlines, Sberbank of Russia, PhosAgro, Tatneft, the
London Stock Exchange, IBM, Sony Pictures Television, the Russian Direct
Investment Fund, Synergy University, VEB Innovations, Petropavlovsk
PLC, Animation Future Film, Polyplastic Group, IXCellerate, and other