POST-RELEASE IX Moscow International Financial and Economic Forum «Building bridges, not barriers. Business Eurasia in a new reality»
It has been nine years since Financial and Business Association of Euro-Asian Cooperation with the support of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) and Eurasian Economic Commission hosts Moscow International Financial and Economic Forum. Over the last two years, International Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs co-hosted the Forum. This year UNIDO Centre for International Industrial Cooperation in the Russian Federation joined the organizers of the Forum.
The plenary session of IX Moscow International Financial and Economic Forum took place on November 24, 2022. In accordance with current trends, it was held in a mixed mode - offline/online.
The Plenary session was preceded by International Business Week at FBA EAC, which included panel sessions held in Moldova, Italy and Russia.
Over 2000 participants from 36 countries attended the panel sessions and the plenary session. Representatives of the business communities of Italy, Kazakhstan, India, Syria, Russia, Germany, China, Senegal, UAE, Serbia, Kyrgyzstan, Greece, Moldova, and Cyprus participated in the Forum in person.
Representatives and top officials of EEC, RSPP, ICIE, Financial institutions’ Association of Kazakhstan, Association of banks of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Association of European Businesses, Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry, UNIDO Centre for International Industrial Cooperation in the Russian Federation, the UN Country Team in Russia, Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia, as well as ambassadors and representatives of embassies of Brazil, Syria and Kyrgyzstan were present at the Forum.
The Forum was opened by Alexander Murychev, Chairman of the FBA EAC Executive Board. He greeted the participant on behalf of the Forum organizers. Talking about the Forum’s history A.Murychev emphasized that over the past years the Forum had managed to acquire its own recognizable face, to establish itself as an effective business platform, which allowed to gather over five thousand representatives of business communities from 38 countries of Europe, Asia and Africa within the previous eight years and discuss the most topical issues of Eurasian integration.
Speaking about the special features of the FBA EAC Forum, Alexander Murychev noted its primary focus on the business community of Greater Eurasia. The Forum's panel sessions have long been productive platforms for the exchange of views in the professional communities, as well as for finding business partners, as their work has always been based on the industry principle.
Alexander Murychev thanked the official sponsors of the Forum - Chinese company SLC-Rus and PROMTECH, which not only provided their financial support, but the intellectual content of the Forum’s program.
Following that, Alexander Murychev read the welcome letters to the participants of the Forum from Mger Grigoryan, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, and Timur Suleimenov, First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Li Shuobing, President of FBA EAC, addressed the participants of the Forum with a welcome speech. In his speech, he noted that despite the current geopolitical situation, representatives from all of Eurasia, Africa, the East and even Latin America took part in the Forum, and this demonstrates, above all, the relevance of Financial and Business Association of Euro-Asian Cooperation. According to the president of FBA EAC, «the mutually respectful dialogue and constructive discussions that always accompany the work at our Forum prove that the mechanisms of "public diplomacy" are more in demand today than ever before. While politicians argue and "play with their muscles", not finding an opportunity to sit down at the negotiating table, entrepreneurs, as rationally acting people capable of deriving benefit and looking for ways to increase it, find opportunities to agree and build bridges of cooperation». Concluding his speech, Li Shuobing expressed confidence that the intellectual results of the Forum participants' work will certainly reflect the goodwill and desire for full cooperation. "After all, only together will we be able to overcome the crises and challenges that modern life throws at international business," said the President of FBA EAC.
Traditionally, Alexey Gromyko, Director of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member of RAS, moderated the plenary session. He noted the extreme relevance of the title of the Forum and regretted that «the question of how to make sure that people, countries and businesses are more connected than they are currently divided remains a burning issue».
During the plenary session, the participants discussed a wide range of issues concerning the impact of the shift of development centers to the East on the global economy and foreign economic activity, problems of food and energy security, the urgent tasks of coupling the "One Belt, One Road" strategy and Eurasian economic integration in the new geopolitical environment, the status and prospects of EAEU cooperation with third countries (Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East). The participants sought answers to the questions «partners or competitors - who are the economies of Eurasia in the context of global technological transformation?», «can partnerships in Eurasia compensate for the weakening of traditional mechanisms of multilateral cooperation?», «what sustainable development challenges does Eurasian partnership help address?» and others.
Bakytzhan Sagintaev, Member of the Board – Minister in charge of Economy and Financial Policy of Eurasian Economic Commission, told the Forum about the efforts the EEC is making to create a common economic space. Speaking about the Greater Eurasian Partnership, the Minister said that in his opinion, in the near future it will consist of separate subregional blocks based on the common interest of the participants, their technological, logistical, infrastructural and other mutually beneficial proposals.
In the speech of Rodrigo de Lima Baena Soares, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federative Republic of Brazil to the Russian Federation, the main emphasis was placed on the theme of sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the well-being of future generations. According to the Ambassador, pandemics, interstate conflicts and their consequences, such as food and energy crises, are the main challenges today. Brazil is ready to help the world community to solve these problems, as today it is one of the leaders in the production of green energy and food.
Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Doctor of Economics, Professor, spoke about the need to resume a constructive dialogue within the international communities. And while the platform of the G-20 Summit in Indonesia was useful to voice the position of the Russian business community to the partners, the platform of the WTO must be used for continuing the dialogue in the field of trade and investment, which has lost its role as a regulator of international trade today, but, according to the President of RSPP, must restore this status. Alexander Shokhin reminded the plenary session participants that the G20 was created to deal effectively with economic crises and to prevent them in the future, but today it fails to cope with this task. President of RSPP believes that we need to create mechanisms within the G-20 to respond to the crisis, to ensure trade in essential commodities - food and medicines. Alexander Shokhin also stressed the importance of the Eurasian Economic Union. Among the main areas of its activities - project cooperation, the formation of a favorable business environment within the EAEU, the development of a system of settlements in national currencies, including the use of digital currencies.
Rajneesh Goenka, Founding Chairman of MSME Development Forum, Member of National Council under MSME Ministry in his speech emphasized the role of small and medium business in the economies of the world. Speaking about India, Rajneesh Goenka talked about the serious but still insufficient attention given to SME development and support in his country. «I appeal to all the participants of the forum - support the development of the small and medium business sector in your countries. Only this way we will be able to overcome the current and all future crises, » he concluded.
Tadzio Schilling, General Director of the Association of European Businesses, spoke about the problems of winding down international cooperation. According to Tadzio Schilling, de-globalization is against economic logic and this trend must be changed. «International cooperation is going through difficult times, » the speaker continued, «The large-scale challenges facing states and companies in Eurasia must be addressed in the context of a reformatting of the traditional institutions of international trade and finance. Some of these institutions are currently in paralysis. The necessary solutions lie in the strengthening of regional integration, the convergence of national legislations and the development of new instruments of financing. Tadzio Schilling closed his speech by emphasizing the important role of international business associations, which are capable of steering the process of restoring old and establishing new business contacts in the right direction, ensuring the necessary dialogue between the business community and administrations at all levels.
Zhou Liqun, President of the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia, in his presentation familiarized the participants with the figures reflecting the scale of cooperation between Russia and China. According to Zhou Liqun, the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia has more than 4 thousand Chinese companies. "In 2022, amid the pandemic and sanctions, Sino-Russian relations have shown their resilience. This is especially true for trade. During the 10 months of 2022, the bilateral trade turnover increased by 33% and reached $153 billion. By the end of the year, this figure will grow to a record $180 billion trade turnover," said the President of the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia. The speaker did not ignore the problems concerning logistics and bank payments. «But the main thing is that Russian business is looking to the East, and China is looking at friendly Russia, » Zhou Liqun said in conclusion.
Sergey Korotkov, Director of the UNIDO Center for International Industrial Cooperation in the Russian Federation, told in his speech about the development of cooperation within the framework of business associations and country associations. According to the speaker, the main opportunities for cooperation lie in the development of regional integration projects, such as the EAEU and the Eurasian Customs Union. China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative not only improves the region's ability to attract foreign investment flows, but also increases competition between Russian and Chinese companies. So does BRICS+ cooperation in Central Asia.
William Fidel Suleiman Kwende, Managing Director of Africana Infrastructure Capital, Golden Organics Global, in his speech focused on the economic potential of African countries, which can become the basis for long-term cooperation between Russia and the countries of the African continent. «We have a long friendship that goes back to the days of the Soviet Union, when the USSR provided tremendous support to African countries, helping them gain independence, develop education, industry and agriculture, train the first doctors and engineers who then built today's Africa,» the speaker stressed. «Africa is 54 countries covering an area of 30 million square kilometers. Africa has a large share of the world's mineral resources. It is now the fastest growing economy, fueled by rising commodity prices. Africa is one of the most financially dynamic places in the world. Africa is now building a modern transportation network. There are ample opportunities for investment in development projects in Africa. African countries offer countries in other regions an open, mutually beneficial cooperation, » William Fidel Suleiman Kwende concluded.
Igor Tarciano Timo, Chairman of the Parliamentary Group Brazil-Russia, Deputy of the Chamber of Deputies of the National Congress of the Federative Republic of Brazil, focused on the issues of bilateral cooperation between Brazil and Russia. «In the new geopolitical conditions, our cooperation plays an increasing role in the implementation of new projects that lead to the strengthening of the economies of our countries. We pay great attention to financial cooperation. The Central Bank of Brazil attaches great importance to this. Our cooperation has long been successful in traditional areas - trade in meat and other food products. Cooperation in the field of maritime transport, rail transport is also developing, » said Igor Tarciano Timo in his speech.
In the presentation that concluded the Forum, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director of the UN Information Center in Moscow and Chairman of the UN Country Team in Russia, noted that the topics raised by the Forum participants were, in his opinion, extremely important both for the global agenda and for the efforts of the United Nations today. The plight of the world as a result of armed conflicts, climate change, division, poverty and unemployment, mass displacement of people, the consequences of the global pandemic, etc., has led to a lack of funds for sustainable development financing. «And so, the most important thing that needs to be done today for the development of the global economy and the smooth functioning of financial markets is to restore the trust that has been lost,» Vladimir Kuznetsov said in conclusion.
Summing up the discussion, Alexey Gromyko noted that the universal concern about the current situation of division and global distrust in the world, as many speakers have noted, must be overcome by the resumption of dialogue, cooperation between the leading economies of the world, and in the context of the Forum, by building new bridges to overcome the large-scale global economic crisis.
No less important than the discussion itself was the awarding of the winners of the International Public Award «Business Elite of Eurasia», established in 2016 by the FBA EAC and the International Banking Council. In the category «Benchmark of Stability» the award was given to the Chinese company SLC-Rus, Financial institutions’ Association of Kazakhstan received the statuette in the category «Benchmark of Development», the Italian company LEVORO, according to the Organizing Committee of the Award, became the «Benchmark of Reliability».
Also in the final part of the Forum the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the FBA EAC and the Indian Association «MSME Development Forum» took place. On behalf of FBA EAC Memorandum was signed by General Director of the Association Oleg Berezovoy, on behalf of the Indian Association - by Founding Chairman Rajneesh Goenka.