International Commerce Today: New Opportunities and Success Stories
SPIEF has shown that regulators in Russia take the interests of the business sector into consideration
Before the Forum, I had my own feelings about relations with our trading partners in the West. These were based on certain realities, such as logistical restrictions, financial restrictions, transport restrictions, restrictions to transactions, and sanctions on companies, which are the most unpleasant thing. <...> Now, having spoken to people and participated in a range of events at the Forum, I have seen that our country’s decision makers are trying to strike a balance in this difficult situation in the interests of business. <...> This will make it a little easier to work with people I believed were not worth trusting anymore — Nikolai Dunayev, Chairman of the Management Board, Sibirya Export-Import Incorporated.
The potential for trade between Russia and Indonesia is far from exhausted
We have seen a wide-ranging mutual interest from Indonesia and Russia in recent months. The potential is far from exhausted, not only in terms of crypto, but also in terms of international trade. Trade between Russia and Indonesia is worth 3 billion. This in itself is an indication that the potential is far from exhausted. <...> Today, the two countries are facing one another and are ready to forge comprehensive and deep ties. We are all in favour of this, and not only in the field of cryptocurrency — Lubarto Sartoyo, Investment Advisor, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in the Russian Federation.
Marketplaces could do much to boost the SME sector
Marketplaces primarily make it possible for virtually anyone to go into business fairly cheaply. There are a range of reasons for this. Firstly, as you know, capital expenditures are virtually zero. <...> Accordingly, marketing expenses are not particularly high either. But the biggest advantage is of course that your virtual shelf space is unlimited, which compares very favourably to traditional retail — Sergey Lebedev, Vice President of Government Relations, AliExpress Russia.
Cryptocurrency may hold the key to solving issues around transactions
Whereas 1–3 years ago the word ‘cryptocurrency’ held negative connotations, particularly as far as the government and officials were concerned, today everyone understands that it offers an excellent option for transnational payments. This is only true for services, of course. <...> If changes will one day be made to the Customs Code making it possible to pay in cryptocurrency, report on its use, and deliver [goods – ed.], then this will probably result in incredible progress. This is not something we expect to be in the works. But this trend is continuing — Maxim Chereshnev, Chairman, Russian Trade and Economy Development Council.
The departure of Western brands from Russia has freed up space for Russian startups
When the events of February began, young people in the main perked up somewhat. That’s because they study there [at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics – ed.], and are establishing startups while still studying. And they said, ‘Great! Western brands are leaving, so we will be able to promote our own! — Antonina Vatolkina, Member of the Council for Financial, Industrial and Investment Policy, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.
There is no cast-iron solution in Russia to issues surrounding transactions
I don’t think we will see the extreme scenario of all Russia banks being cut off from SWIFT by the end of the year. Unfortunately, though, as of today, as of this Forum, we have yet to hear about a clear and absolutely reliable alternative, so the issue is still up in the air — Nikolai Dunayev, Chairman of the Management Board, Sibirya Export-Import Incorporated.
SME growth in Russia lags far behind countries which are leading the way in this area
The thinking goes that small and medium-sized enterprises should be the drivers of any economy. If we compare the economies of China and Russia <...> there is one key indicator which in principle I think we should be matching, and that’s the percentage of national GDP that SMEs account for. In China, the figure is 60% plus. And according to the latest data, it’s approaching 70%. In Russia, unfortunately, this figure is very low, extremely low – under 20% — Sergey Lebedev, Vice President of Government Relations, AliExpress Russia.
Problems surrounding logistics and transaction are making products much more expensive
Exporters are of course faced with a number of issues which have yet to be fully resolved, and which are making products more expensive. These issues concern logistics and the transactions themselves. We can see that today, direct SWIFT transactions are not going through, with rare exceptions, and the same is true of euros, with rare exceptions. Again, the only transactions which are going through are those via friendly countries — Maxim Chereshnev, Chairman, Russian Trade and Economy Development Council.
Russian government officials are committed to finding solutions in what is a difficult situation
I must have spoken to 10 deputy ministers and heads of departments. I asked the same question to all of them: ‘What went on in your offices on certain dates?’ You know, I was expecting to get all sorts of answers, but virtually everyone answered in a way that suggested that people felt positive. What I mean by this is that instead of having a sense of fear, or being at a loss about what to do, people began pooling their efforts, mobilizing, and developing solutions. This is very important. It indicates that the people who one way or another are tasked with processing the array of data to come out of the Forum and to develop some kind of policy from it for the future are pragmatic and good. This is a very good thing — Nikolai Dunayev, Chairman of the Management Board, Sibirya Export-Import Incorporated.
Russian regulators are giving serious consideration to the idea of using cryptocurrencies
One thing is for sure: our regulators do not have an aversion to cryptocurrencies, just as it was a year ago. Basically, at the very least this is something that’s being discussed. However, even the people putting forward these initiatives [to legalize payments in cryptocurrencies – ed.] are saying that this should not be seen as a catch-all solution. <...> A catch-all solution is still to sort out our own system allowing the rapid exchange of financial data. <...> I hope that such a system for exchanging banking data will work for at least a number of key trading partners — Nikolai Dunayev, Chairman of the Management Board, Sibirya Export-Import Incorporated.
My personal opinion, and perhaps it’s subjective, is that cryptocurrencies are the future — Antonina Vatolkina, Member of the Council for Financial, Industrial and Investment Policy, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.
Russia’s creative industry offers promise in terms of exports
There are products made by the creative industry in Russia which are based on our history, our practices. These include smart products and educational products. These might well be in demand in other countries — Nikolai Kalmykov, Member of the Expert Council under the Committee on Education of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation; Chairman, Association of Mentors; Director, Studio "System WORLD".
The government is supporting and encouraging exporters
Today, exporters have access to an entire support package, ranging from subsidies and incentives to subsidized financing. This is a big thing for us [the Ministry of Economic Development – ed.], and companies are constantly contacting us. Subsidies for the IT sector are off the charts: we offer up to RUB 500 million in non-returnable subsidies to implement a project, both via the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media. In addition, we are able to offer up to RUB 2 trillion in subsidized loans, which have been allocated from the budget. So, exporters today are able to benefit from unprecedented support — Maxim Chereshnev, Chairman, Russian Trade and Economy Development Council.
Indonesia could offer promise to small businesses in Russia
Indonesia is leading the way in terms of the development of e-com [e-commerce – ed.], e gross, and so on. <...> This is a very fast-growing market, and Russian businesses should also take advantage of it — Lubarto Sartoyo, Investment Advisor, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in the Russian Federation.
The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS