A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, congress, exhibitions, business, social and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation – a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, congress, exhibitions, business, social and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5000 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 129 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 69 countries worldwide.

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Russia–Switzerland
7 June 2019
10:00—11:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Relationship with Russia is important for Switzerland

Switzerland believes Russia to be an important partner, a country that holds in a priority in economic relations. Trade grows by 10% per year and we are among 10 largest investors in the Russian economy — Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Director, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

In regards to sanctions, Switzerland has its own position that is different from the EU. Accordingly, there are different possibilities for economic ties with Russia — Frank Schauff, Chief Executive Officer, Association of European Businesses.

There is a demand in Switzerland that comes from small businesses. They are increasingly more interested in Russian companies and want to enter the Russian market — Béatrice G. Lombard-Martin, Swiss Russian Forum.

Russia is of strategic importance to us — Stefan Oliver Reutter, Managing Director, Regional Vice Chairman, UBS Switzerland AG.

In the past 20 years we have invested over USD 2 billion in the Russian economy. We have been increasing investment pace, especially in the past 3 years — Martial Rolland, Chief Executive Officer in Russia and Eurasia, Nestlé S.A..

Our investment is not slowing down. We opened a marine service centre in Murmansk to maintain large vessels that transport LNG. <…> We opened an engineering centre in Kaliningrad. <…> Additionally, we develop project engineer training programme, which is extremely important for Russia — Peter Voser, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ABB Ltd .

We see the Russian market in a positive light. One of the state programmes that develops infrastructure and the roads sector is one of the key economic drivers. <…> We bring technology to Russia that is not yet here, like building cement roads. We are trying to standardize this technology for Russia — Maxim Goncharov, Chief Executive Officer, LafargeHolcim Russia.

Switzerland is interested in cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union

The Eurasian Economic Union is <…> of great interest to our companies — Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Director, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The Eurasian Economic Union is important to us, particularly when it comes to bringing stability into legislature. We find many different markets within the union very appealing — Martial Rolland, Chief Executive Officer in Russia and Eurasia, Nestlé S.A..

Russia created favourable conditions for foreign business

Russia created unprecedented conditions [for foreign companies, – Ed.] to start operations. It is state and regional support. These are special economic zones, industrial parks, and so on. We have introduced dual education at universities, that allows working and studying at the same time. We create technical training centres, whose graduates can work in any field. <…> All of this helps big companies that have more than one factory in our region grow even further — Vladimir Potemkin, Deputy Governor of Kaluga Region.

We live in difficult times but in terms of accessing the Russian market – especially the regional market – Swiss companies have a chance to seriously expand their presence here. <…> Russia adopted a number of long-term development programmes, that can include a wealth of Swiss companies, not just those that are historically present here — Alexey Moskov, Chief Executive Officer, Witel AG.

If we talk about R&D – we opened a laboratory in Moscow together with Skoltech. It was a great decision, everything worked out. We did everything quite fast, and in both Germany and the US people were amazed at the opportunities available in Russia — Roland Fischer, Chief Executive Officer, OC Oerlikon Management AG.

ISSUES
Negative effect from the sanctions

We hope sanctions will be lifted, we need good bilateral relations — Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Director, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

I am confident that political complications will be over soon, and we will go back to normal. <…> Currently, everyone is looking for ways out of this generally unfair situation — Roland Fischer, Chief Executive Officer, OC Oerlikon Management AG.

[With sanctions, – Ed.] Europe loses, while Russia gains. If Europe waits too long, it may end up losing too much. We cannot keep up – Russia is developing too fast. I think politicians should try not to lose the Russian market — Ljuba Manz-Lurje, Chairperson, Board of Directors, Manz Privacy Hotels Switzerland AG.

In early 2010s the situation was favourable and banks believed there will be great interest in asset management in Russia. It was the time when banking flourished, it was a much better situation. Now, the overall paradigm is changing: the shift from rapid growth and low risk to average and high risk, given sanctions and such — Stefan Oliver Reutter, Managing Director, Regional Vice Chairman, UBS Switzerland AG.

Legislature imperfections

We know that sanctions come and go. We work in legislative volatility and we would like to be playing by clear rules — Peter Voser, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ABB Ltd .

If we talk about barriers, then it is intellectual property. <…> However, if you compare it to the situation 10 years ago, then a lot has improved: the legislature is significantly more transparent now — Stuart Max Merrifield, Managing Director, Novartis Pharma LLC.

SOLUTIONS
Improving legislature and standards

Improvements require legal agreements, that are stable, open, comptetitive, and predictable — Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Director, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

In regards to new work rules in Russia in terms of investments, we need to reach the situation when the interested parties take part in drafting legal initiatives — Martial Rolland, Chief Executive Officer in Russia and Eurasia, Nestlé S.A..

Investments in digitalization and automation

Digitalization and automation, including robotics, is an area that will see a lot of action in Russia in the few coming years. <…> Given future demographic challenges, Russia can use robots and automation to strengthen its position and optimize for global-scale production — Peter Voser, Chairman of the Board of Directors, ABB Ltd .

Some industries still see a significant share of manual labour. Yet it happens a lot that it is the job creation and attracting people are important for Russian cities and regions — Roland Fischer, Chief Executive Officer, OC Oerlikon Management AG.

Turning Switzerland into a European data storage centre

We can talk about a unique opportunity for Switzerland: you are a data storage centre for all of the EU, you can guarantee that you were, you are, and you will remain the safest place in all of Europe. <…> It is a unique opportunity for Swiss companies, you could become one of the world data storage centres — Eugene Kaspersky, Chief Executive Officer, Kaspersky Lab.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS