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 is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

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 160 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 75 countries worldwide.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian (t.me/Roscongress), English (t.me/RoscongressDirect), and Spanish (t.me/RoscongressEsp). Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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Export: Where and How SMEs Can Sell
2 June 2021
12:15—13:45
KEY CONCLUSIONS
The pandemic proved that Russian exports can be high-tech

The year 2020 did a really cool thing for the Russian medical technology industry – it built a reputation [for the industry]. The export figures that we have are 30–40% for certain items. They’re simply doubling and tripling. That is to say, they are in demand. […] We can’t say that the pharmaceutical industry is exporting something huge somewhere. These are primarily mass enterprises that have been preparing for a new opportunity. In my view, this is a key area for export — Vasily Osmakov, First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

In addition to the transfer of technology, it would be great to increase engineering exports. […] We have something to offer: clean rooms in which vaccines are produced, technological equipment, ventilation units, and, above all, the expertise of our designers, builders, and startup specialists. Joint work in this regard could yield results not only in terms of the quality of specific projects, but also boost the level of trust in our engineering companies — Oleg Malakhov, Member of the General Council, Delovaya Rossiya All Russia Public Organization.

We have talked a lot about exports by small and medium-sized businesses as part of the transfer of technology: Sputnik V is everywhere. I have been travelling abroad all this time, and it’s simply nice: ‘Sputnik V’, ‘Sputnik V’, — Nikolai Dunayev, Vice President, OPORA RUSSIA All-Russian Non-governmental Organization of Small and Medium Business.

Online exports are a growth point for Russian business

The entire world has made a quantum leap in e-commerce. Russia has jumped three years ahead, while America [has jumped] almost two years ahead. The online export market hit the USD 1 billion mark in 2020. That is to say, USD 1 billion worth of goods were sold abroad through electronic platforms. This is an increase of 42%. For all the dynamics that we see, we talked about this a few years ago, this market could easily be from Russia — Ilya Kretov, General Manager Global Emerging Markets, eBay.

Now we are focusing on creating new exporters ... and new export products. […] First, it should be easy, convenient, and pleasant to export, and second, it’s a change in the quality of export. [...] The result is new players, new markets discovered, new niches, new products, and learning to be globally competitive in new niches — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Opora Russia.

ISSUES
Development of SMEs in Russia constrained by growing logistics and raw materials costs

Unfortunately, for objective reasons ... Russian Post, which is the main channel, has been forced to raise prices by an average of 15% each year, which is always a bit of a blow for exporters. So we have begun the excellent work of subsidizing logistics operations for exporters – by mail and perhaps by courier services — Ilya Kretov, General Manager Global Emerging Markets, eBay.

Prices have grown by 70% for chipboard and by 100% for metal. What had been levelled out by the difference in the rouble and euro exchange rates has disappeared. When I was travelling, I saw that the average price per square metre of chipboard in Europe is EUR 3.2, while in Russia, the same plant as in Europe sells it for EUR 4.2 per square metre — Victor Pomeshchikov, Co-Founder, TOTO-nabytek Electronic Marketplace.

Price growth is, of course, a reflection of a very rapidly recovering economy. In a sense, it is a normal market process in which there are undoubtedly excesses, or what the prime minister called ‘greed’. [...] The problem must be solved; it must be solved within the market and with the involvement of state regulation, but there is no need to clamp down, that’s for sure — Vasily Osmakov, First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

Our research shows that 90% of small and medium-sized business entrepreneurs, and these are specifically to whom I’m referring as opposed to large corporations that have individual people and management departments that fill these things out, are precisely the people who are faced with [completing] such simple questions. Our entrepreneurs note that filling out such documents takes 85 hours — Nadia Cherkasova, Deputy President - Chairman of the Board, Otkritie Bank.

SMEs in Russia lack capital to enter the global market

There are few small businesses in Russia. They are catastrophically undercapitalized. You need to make a profit and capitalize, capitalize, and capitalize again. Because if we compare a small enterprise in Russia and Germany, everything appears to be similar, except the capital owned by a small Russian company is several times less than that of a German company. You need to capitalize, so turn a profit and invest it in your enterprises above all else — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Opora Russia.

We compared the top ten sellers from Russia and the top ten sellers from China. The Chinese, on average, sell 27 times more than the average Russian seller due to the many tools they use: shipping goods abroad and then working with electronic platforms, — Ilya Kretov, General Manager Global Emerging Markets, eBay.

SOLUTIONS
Entrepreneurship training and support measures will help SMEs gain a favourable position on the global market

We don’t need to create such academic and practically inapplicable courses that simply take up time, but need to form very clear programmes that literally take an entrepreneur who is ready for such difficult foreign commerce by the hand and answers the question of how to start doing it. [...] When conducting an audit of what exists on the market, we saw that there truly aren’t that many programmes that are really that specific, practically applicable, and can be converted to exports and not just to a diploma or a sheepskin — Veronika Nikishina, Chief Executive Officer, Russian Export Centre.

We amended the tax legislation so that a Russian retail exporter could apply a 0% VAT rate. Again, this was all on paper, but actually translated into numbers. Russian Post first integrated with us, then integrated with the Federal Tax Service, Federal Customs Service, and now a Russian exporter can confirm the 0% VAT rate. There have been numerous breakthroughs in logistics, because there was a logistics crisis. In the same way, Russian Post, in very close partnership with us, altered logistics and resolved the local crisis — Ilya Kretov, General Manager Global Emerging Markets, eBay.

I really hope that this year we will launch a preferential programme at Russian Post for exporters, primarily SMEs. We have drawn up a government resolution, there is money for this, and we should launch it in a pilot mode this year. This programme should effectively complement the work that the REC is doing with mail in terms of differentiating digital service items — Vasily Osmakov, First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

We have announced the ‘Open to the Whole World’ programme and have invested a lot of efforts and funds into providing Russian SMEs with the opportunity to quickly enter retail exports. In general, the results were not long in coming. Now we have closed 2020 and saw 41,000 accounts and exporters. They are selling something through eBay to the whole world, an increase of 39% in terms of the number of exporters. When all our countries are closed, they sell to more than a hundred countries around the world. Our top exporter sold to 108 countries even though all the borders were closed — Ilya Kretov, General Manager Global Emerging Markets, eBay.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS