Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Anton Kobyakov and France’s new Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann met in Moscow at the initiative of the French side. On the agenda was a wide range of issues related to promoting and stimulating trade relations between the two countries. A separate set of questions concerned how France will participate in the international economic events set to take place in Russia in 2018.
Both sides highlighted the recent positive trend in the development of their bilateral cooperation with respect to trade, the economy, and investment. According to Anton Kobyakov, significant indications that the previous dynamic is being restored include steady growth in the volume of trade between Russia and France, which between January and August of this year grew by more than 15% in comparison with the same period in 2016, as well as an increase in investment flows between the countries. In addition, he noted, representatives from Russian and French business circles are expressing a high degree of interest, not only in continuing, but also in pursuing a significant mutual expansion of trade relations, by implementing major projects in a wide variety of economic sectors.
In the course of their discussion, Ambassador Bermann and Mr. Kobyakov also addressed the proposed participation of French President Emmanuel Macron in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018 (May 24–26), and a potential Russian–French business dialogue on the sidelines of the Forum. Participants in the meeting agreed that further strengthening and cultivation of business activity between Russian and French companies could be facilitated by the signing of a partnership agreement between the Roscongress Foundation and French business association MEDEF. Anton Kobyakov spoke in detail about the opportunities for continuing bilateral dialogue through the business community at other major economic forums in Russia organized by the Roscongress Foundation, including the Eastern Economic Forum and Russian Energy Week.
Ambassador Bermann revealed that, in line with the designation of 2018 as a ‘Crossover Year’ for Russian and French language and literature, and to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of renowned French ballet master and theatrical personality Marius Petipa, France is preparing a programme of cultural events which could also be linked to France’s participation in SPIEF 2018.
The meeting concluded with both sides agreeing to remain in contact.