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 155 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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The Effectiveness of Intergovernmental Regulation in Transforming Global Trade
3 June 2021
15:00—16:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Global trade has adapted to the pandemic

The Federal Customs Service’s development strategy until 2030 outlines the trajectory of movement from electronic customs to smart customs. This is not an unfounded claim. I can say that the Federal Customs Service has already done a lot of work on this issue. Last year [...], we completed a large-scale reform of the customs authorities and created a network of electronic declaration centres and electronic customs offices to which we transferred all customs clearance. At present, 99% of all declarations are processed at electronic declaration centres using state-controlled platforms. And concentrating declarations in this manner has enabled us to take further steps towards automating numerous procedures. Over the first five months of this year, we processed 2.07 million declarations, while 545,000 declarations were processed automatically, which means that every fourth declaration that is processed by the Federal Customs Service is processed automatically, and the processing time doesn’t exceed 5 minutes — Vladimir Bulavin, Head, Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation.

Despite all the external difficulties, attention to exporters, which the government has never lost sight of, has not disappeared and, I hope, will never go away. It has resulted in statistics for this year showing figures that are completely unexpected even for us, although we are always happy about the success of exporters. Over three months, we shattered a record compared with all previous periods both in terms of absolute figures and in dynamics and in terms of growth of non-resource and non-energy exports. Today, we received the first statistics from the FCS for [the first] five months [of 2021] and they confirm this trend with growth in non-resource and non-energy exports — Veronika Nikishina, Chief Executive Officer, Russian Export Centre.

Despite the decline in global trade and the lack of personal protective equipment [...], we continued to develop production and achieved the ability to export very quickly. Importing goods is more difficult. We have very strict requirements for the goods that come to us. We managed to reduce the number of difficulties and restrictions that we have in exports and make exporting easier. We know, for example, that the Russian economy is highly dependent on oil and gas, and most importantly, there should be no disruptions here. As for our system, I can say that it has worked very well in this regard. We have shown flexibility, and decisions have been made quickly. The sustainability we have worked out has helped us develop our port systems, and even with a shortage of personnel, we have been able to work on improving our systems and import low-risk goods — H.E. Saleh bin Majid Al-Khulaifi, Assistant Undersecretary for Commerce Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the State of Qatar.

Like the railway industry, we seem to be the beneficiaries of the pandemic restrictions. This is primarily due to the restriction of passenger air traffic. Consequently, a huge number of goods that had been transported on planes via regular flights switched to the next fastest mode of transport – railways. Similarly, cross-border car traffic was limited — Alexandrs Isurins, President, Chairman of the Executive Board, TransContainer.

A breakthrough is possible if the state and business work together

On the one hand, I am a client, including of Russian Railways, and also interact with the Russian customs service, while, on the other hand, I am a representative of a company that offers IT services. I arrived in Russia two months ago. Prior to that, I was the head of the cloud business in the Pacific region and worked in Singapore. And when I arrived in Russia, I was very surprised. I was surprised by the efficiency, including the work of the Federal Customs Service, and the efficiency of work […] And when I look at the shipment volumes, I can compare them with business in the USA. We really do see a very good, strong digital platform from the FCS, thanks to which we can get our goods through customs clearance very quickly. In Russia, we see a very fast, streamlined process — Zhou Daniel, President, Huawei Eurasia.

The Federal Customs Service maintains relations with the customs administrations of more than 100 countries, and we have concluded basic agreements with 76 of our colleagues to exchange information about goods and vehicles that are being shipped. A kind of digital dialogue is generally being built in order to preliminarily exchange information. This gives us a kind of head start to check the consignments that come to us in advance. In addition, a significant number of experiments have been carried out in an experimental mode with some of our colleagues abroad. I already mentioned the mutual recognition of the results of customs control, the exchange of images of inspection complexes, and the exchange of information from the risk management system databases [...] But we must admit that for now we somehow have not gone any further than experiments. Obviously, political will is needed here. It’s important that each customs administration of each state is not very protective of its business in a certain sense, and we would like the exchange of information to be as thorough as possible — Vladimir Bulavin, Head, Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation.

They [Russian exporters] want support measures that should help them be effective and survive in these difficult conditions. They want comfortable procedures for relations with the state, so they don’t run into the procedure when exporting, but can get through them as unnoticed and painlessly as possible. They want normal, convenient logistics, so that it’s not a bottleneck [...] We have almost the entire arsenal that should exist, and the national project has a fairly large set of everything that exporters want. It is spelled out and there are resources for it. Another thing is that it may not always be the case that these support measures quickly reach those who need them. But as far as the support measures are concerned, work is underway on this. In terms of comfortable procedures, a huge amount of work has also begun at many departments that deal with export-related procedures. This includes the transition to digital, the elimination of manual decisions – human decisions, the rejection of paper, and the digitalization of the exporter’s relationship with the state — Veronika Nikishina, Chief Executive Officer, Russian Export Centre.

ISSUES
Creation of a one-stop shop for foreign economic activity

There is one very big issue that we have been discussing for a long time and still haven’t found common ground on and that’s the one-stop shop in foreign economic activity. Sure, the work carried out by the export centre and the work coordinated by [First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey] Belousov on export development is yielding results in terms of simplifying export procedures, but today we aren’t seeing the same adequate progress in simplifying import procedures. We must not lose sight of the fact that imports are, first and foremost, a necessary tool for organizing effective exports, and second, our economy largely depends as a whole on foreign economic activity, a substantial part of which is not only export, but also import — Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Severstal.

It took Qatar three years to implement such a project. You have a huge country. You work with laboratories. You have a huge border, and there are many aspects and reasons. Again, you have a great advantage and that is good interaction with the private sector. You need to bring together technology providers and others involved in the process. I’m sure you can get this process started. Of course, when you start this process, you will receive a large number of complaints, and you will realize that this is the Titanic, but still, the Titanic needs to start its voyage — H.E. Saleh bin Majid Al-Khulaifi, Assistant Undersecretary for Commerce Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the State of Qatar.

Why is the idea of a one-stop shop being implemented so slowly? Because it is enormously complex [...] and we are developing individual services related to export. The technical execution is where we understand how many pitfalls exist with a seemingly simple idea — Veronika Nikishina, Chief Executive Officer, Russian Export Centre.

We are nevertheless part of the service industry for our clients. And in the eyes of the client, this is a relatively new, but already widespread concept of the ‘client path’: how the client gets through all the paths on the way towards processing his cargo [...] There is no common platform for interaction among all state control bodies […] And our proposal is to connect other state control bodies to create that very unique shop based on the Federal Customs Service’s platform that has already been created — Alexandrs Isurins, President, Chairman of the Executive Board, TransContainer.

Growing restrictions on mutual trade

Now, the destruction of the existing commodity and certain communication chains has also been added to what previously existed and destabilized trade […] In addition, certain unique procedures for quarantine measures have begun to emerge. When mutual trade began to unfreeze, each country, in responding to the fight against the infection, began creating its own procedures and the lack of uniformity in them is also an additional, rather serious complication [...] This is all the new reality in which we live, and exporters are somehow learning to work with this. At the same time, the growing restrictions on mutual trade have not gone anywhere, and the WTO statistics from the end of last year suggest that now there are various restrictions in the world on 10.5% of all imports. And these aren’t just the restrictions that have accumulated or the accumulation of the previous period, but newly introduced restrictions as well. So, this policy of containing exporters is also our reality — Veronika Nikishina, Chief Executive Officer, Russian Export Centre.

China currently has a rule for controlling COVID restrictions, which vary province by province, and even together with Russian Railways, we appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that they would nevertheless somehow put things in order. Because from the Chinese side it has resulted in [...] additional control and restriction of Russian exporters on the Chinese market — Alexandrs Isurins, President, Chairman of the Executive Board, TransContainer.

SOLUTIONS
Digitalization for the further development of global trade

I wholeheartedly agree that technology will play a key role. A number of processes are already under way in China [...] Both ministries and the customs service were involved in these processes and, of course, we suggested using cloud technologies. This enabled us to use a very cost-effective model that all the required agencies had access to. Thanks to this model, we were able to synchronize the operations of many agencies […] We looked at best practices and we could quickly implement them using our services. I can say that a number of technologies developed further during the pandemic, and one of them is cloud technology. I recommend that you pay attention to it — Zhou Daniel, President, Huawei Eurasia.

Our plans – I’ve already spoken about our development strategy – include creating a brand-new customs office by 2030 that is smarter and stronger intellectually. But the most important thing is that the figure should connect the customs administrations in Russia, and not only in Russia, with our partners abroad and within the Russian Federation […] The more the customs sphere is saturated with numbers, the more transparency and mutual trust there is in this area. We want to enrol artificial intelligence as a permanent service in our Russian customs office — Vladimir Bulavin, Head, Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation.