If we talk about business, about regular people – there are no barriers there. In the aforementioned Sovetsk we got Vinchunaj Rus, a major Lithuanian company. I think they take up nearly a third of the entire imitational crab meat market, among other things. There is Lithuanian interest in fertilizer production, etc. In other words, when we talk about business everything is fine, there are no barriers there. If we talk about sanctions, or anti-sanctions, then I would say that disagreements there led to Polish and Lithuanian and other foreign partners increasing their investment in Russia — Anton Alikhanov, Acting Governor of Kaliningrad Region.
First: we own Mechel Nyamunas, a metallurgical production facility since 2003. It means we have been present in Lithuania for 16 years now. <…> Today, this is a successful enterprise: it is rebuilt, it is modernized, it delivers steady flow of produce on time. <…> Second: export. <…> Today, Mechel delivers over thirty various metallic product units through Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. These products are in high demand. The volumes are not overly high, but they are there. Well, not overly high… 4 billion worth last year — Victor Trigubko, Senior Vice President for Government Relations, Mechel.
I would like to point out that this unity of institutions, this simplified communication because of language, knowledge of cultural values and traditions, it helps us communicate and do business together. <…> If people just kept working, they can resolve any problem — Visvalds Busils, Chairman, NK Tehnologija.
Our relations took a heavy hit because of sanctional policy and Russian response to it, forcing a number of Russian companies to terminate their projects. Our goods turnover fell from record-breaking USD 13.5 billion in 2014 to USD 5 billion in 2018. Our council took a hit as well, as since 2014 we have been nearly defunct — Alexander Kolpakov, Chairman, Russia – Latvia Business Council.
There are many sanctions out there today. <…> So, we are doing wrong by our neighbor, not right. And what is wrong? If we wish Latvia or Lithuania to impose sanctions, is it good or bad? I think it is bad, it is an obstacle. If we do the same towards Russia? I guess that is bad as well — Tiit Vahi, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Port of Sillamae.
There are purely practical questions: we have a border running along Neman, it is a question of using the river, the Curonian Lagoon, the border. We have built a wonderful bridge and we are about to finish building a new border control point near Sovetsk. It has been two years since we sent an agreement or shared usage of this infrastructure to our Lithuanian colleagues but received no answer to this day — Anton Alikhanov, Acting Governor of Kaliningrad Region.
We knew different stages. Currently, we are constantly seeking cooperation, businesses in particular, as it is mainly business people who have gathered around this table. On the contrary, there are political obstacles in the way due to the fact that our Baltic colleagues are NATO members — Igor Yurgens, President, All-Russian Insurance Association .
Mechel Nyamunas is built in such a way that it cannot work without raw materials. The plant needs 80 to 100 thousand tonnes of raw material and we manage to provide it. Today, there is a paramount issue at hand: European Union quotas. We never know: the algorithm of quotas differs greatly from the one in place in the 1990s. Today, we can never tell if our raw materials are going to clear the customs or will there be a 25% duty imposed on top. In case of the duty business does not make sense — Victor Trigubko, Senior Vice President for Government Relations, Mechel.
The President signed a decree implementing the electronic visa regime in our region. I will not list all the countries right now as it is being coordinated but Prime Minister should sing that list on Monday. It is an ample list and in essence the Russian Federation is making a welcome gesture. Over 50 countries are on that list, mainly European countries, whose residents will be able to visit Kaliningrad Region for 8 days on an electronic visa, received online for free — Anton Alikhanov, Acting Governor of Kaliningrad Region.
We think Moscow should be of interest to our Baltic colleagues, as we can provide many ideas for urban development. Moscow is undergoing a drastic change. All the visiting delegations are interested in our transportation system, our education management system called Moscow Electronic School, our unified medical management system, our new approaches to improving the environment in the city and developing transport, and many other issues. We are attracting technologies. <…> We are breaking all records in delegation numbers, including those from the Baltic countries — Sergei Cheryomin, Head of Department for Foreign Economic Activity and International Relations, Moscow City Government; Chairman of the Board, Business Council for Cooperation with the Republic of India.
I believe that it is the young people who will help us get over this difficult stage. I have no doubt about that. In order for that to happen though, we need to rebuild the bridges that functioned for years: student and academic exchanges, joint conferences and seminars — Igor Maksimtsev, Rector, Saint Petersburg State University of Economics .
I believe we should communicate more. It is the business that should take the lead and give us a hint. I believe it is the economy that should lead the politics, not the other way around — Jonas Viesulas, Director, FEROGAMA; Member of the Presidium, Lithuanian Confederation of Employers.