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Russia–France
6 June 2019
16:45—18:00
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Russian-French relations have a solid historical foundation

When General de Gaulle visited the Soviet Union back in 1966, he called it the visit of ‘Eternal France’ to ‘Eternal Russia’. <…> So, we have to look at this eternal France and eternal Russia, we talk about long-term relations regardless of some minor nuances arising on the diplomatic field. We share a unique relationship — Sylvie-Agnes Bermann, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to the Russian Federation.

We do indeed share a long history together and based on it we can plan long term — Oleg Bocharov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

The French-Russian dialogue is turning 15. <…> For the past 15 years our association has been proving its competence by staying around this long — Sergey Katasonov, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Budget and Taxes.

Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, not a single French company left Russia. We are here to stay. <…> And this is how we are going to continue our partnership. <…> We have very deep relations, great dialogue — Emmanuel Quidet, President, French-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry .

France is one of Russia’s main commercial partners

The goods exchange amounted to EUR 19 billion in 2018. <…> It grew by 16%. <…> Last year, France became the number two investor after the UK, not accounting for tax havens. Investment grew by 33% — Philippe Pegorier, President, Alstom Russia; Chairman of the Board, Association of European Businesses (AEB).

Cooperation is on the rise in various shapes and forms

GEFCO is a French company with Russian capital. <…> We help Russian Railways modernize supply chains and internal logistics. <…> Our second contribution is opening Russia to the international market. <…> We contribute to facilitate Russian export — Luc Nadal, Chairman of the Management Board, GEFCO Group .

Orange operates in two fields in Russia. <…> We work with vessels. Today, a good share of ships is equipped with our satellite-connected hardware. <…> Our second important field are smart cities and smart homes — Gervais Pellissier, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Orange Group.

Healthcare questions are among the prioritized ones for the Russian government. <…> Significant investment goes into these plans. We are talking about 20 billion during the next 5 years — Olivier Charmeil, Executive Vice President and General Manager, General Medicines and Emerging Markets, Sanofi.

The advantage that awaits companies undergoing digitalization is the opportunity to run complicated scenarios, where they can play out 10–15 scenarios for decision making. Once they do their modeling, they can implement these solutions using digital technology. <…> This is what we do in Russia — Alexey Ryzhov, General Director, Russia and CIS, Dassault Systemes.

ISSUES
Domination of traditional industries in cooperation

Our cooperation is currently dominated by basic industries. <…> There should be more investment in new technologies, in digitalization, in some industries that may not even exist today — Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).

The question is how do you set up dialogue between medium-sized companies, since modern innovations these days come from those, or even from start-ups. <…> How do you build a platform where mid-sized companies and start-ups could interact with major players and get access to technologies — Oleg Bocharov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

Unfavorable situations for investment climate

Currently, there are signs that cause alarm. I believe you all know about the arrest of Philippe Delpal [partner in Baring Vostok, arrested in a theft case of RUB 2 billion, – Ed.]. <…> He currently is in jail because of some commercial disagreement. This is alarming and unclear for us. It matters for the future: we need a legally safe climate — Sylvie-Agnes Bermann, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to the Russian Federation.

SOLUTIONS
Joint production for third country export

We have strengthened our cooperation in creating joint ventures and exporting products into third countries. <…> We believe that the number one key is taking the middle of the market niche we can occupy if we join forces together — Oleg Bocharov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

State support of joint initiatives in high-tech

The Ministry of Industry provided the government with a list of devices. <…> Step by step, we are going to create preference for procurement of these products by large holdings and state corporations. <…> It is paramount that products developed by French-Russian partnerships made it to this list — Oleg Bocharov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

During Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Russia last year we signed an agreement with the RSPP. <…> We told each other we must cooperate in creating product that can help develop industries of tomorrow. <…> We have signed a charter. <…> We defined eight projects in robotics, building composite materials, etc. And it is just the beginning — Frederic Daniel Sanchez, Chairman of the Executive Board, Fives SA .

Implementing digital technologies in traditional industries

We have a chance to implement high-tech solutions in the old projects — Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).

We created a corporate venture fund dedicated to new materials. Globally, this was the first venture fund in metallurgy. <…> We work with Astra Capital. <…> We found multiple interesting potential partnerships with a lot to offer in terms of new materials — Andrey Laptev, Director for Business Development and Corporate Venture Projects, Severstal Management.

We have geologists that can work with robots, with machines capable of analyzing masses of data and point out the most interesting information. <…> We are building a digital factory with about 130 employees. <…> This will help us save up to a billion a year — Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman & CEO, Total.

We digitalize our production processes and it is happening within the framework of environmental obligations our companies take on — Bertrand Camus, Chief Executive Officer, SUEZ.

Setting up new interaction channels

We recently had a meeting in Versailles that brought together 40 Russian start-ups with 100 French business community representatives. The meeting is still producing results. We are planning another meeting in Moscow, as it was highly efficient — Anatoly Torkunov, Rector, MGIMO University.

It is important to create joint centres for scientific research. <…> We are talking about motivations to create them today in the conditions we have, potentially to juxtapose them with an anglo-saxonian model — Pierre Morel, Co-Chairman, Trianon Dialogue Forum; Ambassador of the French Republic to the Russian Federation (1992-1996).

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS