On November 27, 2019, London hosted the V Russian-British business forum organized by the Russian Embassy and Trade Delegation of Russia in the UK with the support of the Roscongress Foundation, the Russian-British Chamber of Commerce and Westminster Russia Forum with a number of Russian and British companies. The forum is held by Trade Delegation of Russia in the UK under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia in partnership with Rosсongress, and with the support of more than 40 Russian and international organisations.
Westminster Russia Forum, a partner of the Siberian Alliance Group (Moscow diversified holding company) in the UK, was a co-organizer of the RBBF. WRF made recommendations on the development of trade and economic relations between Russia and UK and proposed the guidance how to manage positive image of Russia in the UK.
The management of Westminster Russia Forum took part in the forum as one of the co-organizers and delegate. WRF has prepared a number of proposals for cooperation with Britain on the development of investment projects and the establishment of interstate relations in the framework of socio-political and economic cooperation. The board of Westminster Russia Forum participated in RBBF’s discussions and round tables as well as established relations with major Russian companies, Moscow and Russian governments and some political officials.
Westminster Russia Forum’s chairman Nicholas Cobb and chairman of Siberian Alliance Group Anton Samoylenko had meetings with government officials and business representatives from UK and Russia, with the aim of strengthening bilateral relations, promoting trade and investment activities and supporting Russian projects in a number of industries.
The 5th Russian-British Business Forum (RBBF-2019), which is a major biggest UK-Russian business event in the United Kingdom, took place on 27 November at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. This year, the forum celebrated its five-year anniversary, bringing together more than 1,000 British and Russian business leaders and state officials. The theme of RBBF-2019 was ‘Digital infrastructure and industry’.
Over the past five years, the forum has become a major platform which Russian officials, businesses, public organizations and development institutions have used to collaborate with British companies and governmental representatives.
The programme for the forum on 27 November included a series of panel sessions, reports presented by international experts, round-table discussions, European previews of new Russian technology and an investment lunch with financial organisations.
As part of the forum, an exhibition will be held which is dedicated to developing prospects for cooperation with Russian regions and companies. On 26 November, participants visited offices of international companies in London and enjoy an official welcome at the Trade Delegation.
The theme of RBBF-2019 is timely, given the search for new business opportunities between the two countries, primarily in the innovation sector. Much attention will be dedicated to digital development across various Russian and UK industries, such as the financial sector, state services, industry, agriculture and retail. The main panel sessions are as follows: ‘Future international business priorities for Russia and the United Kingdom’; ‘Financial infrastructure and digital trends in international business’; ‘Industrial cooperation and global production development’; ‘Interregional cooperation and exploiting export potential’; and ‘New prospects in the services sector: opportunities for the Russian and British markets’.
As part of the round-table discussions, experts, business representatives and officials will take part in meaningful discussions on cooperation prospects and implementing solutions for so-called smart cities, organic food markets and the new consumer philosophy, as well as advanced technology in the healthcare sector.
According to Russian and British data, trade between the two countries has grown progressively in recent times. In 2017, it grew by 23%, growing by a further 8% in 2018, which amounted to USD 13.7 billion. The total level of British investment in the Russian economy amounts to USD 20.3 billion, with Russia having invested a total of over USD 13 billion in the British economy.
The past few years have seen the emergence of new goods, with Russian non-primary exports and services to the United Kingdom increasing and diversifying. To that end, investment, developing and localizing production and facilitating the transfer of technology are already underway.
The Russian-British business forum is dedicated to new technologies, the digital economy and cooperation between Russia and the UK. The Forum is one of the most important business events of Russian-speaking London, which is attended, among others, by representatives of the Russian government, executives and key persons of the largest Russian companies - from VimpelCom to Sberbank, representatives of British business and many other participants directly interested in the development Russian-British business relations.
The forum had a discussion about the foreign economic future of Russia and the UK, discussed how Russian companies are building digital infrastructure, understanding global production and adopting green building experience.
A separate topic of the forum was a discussion about the export potential of Russia and Russian-British trade in the non-resource sectors, which has shown growth over the past three years despite political tensions between the countries.
The Russian-British Business Forum “Digital Infrastructure and Industries” is the largest Russian business event abroad. This year, the Forum was visited by more than 1000 participants, more than 50 representatives of government and top management from business spoke at discussions and round tables. In 2019, trade between Russia and the United Kingdom continued to grow, by the end of the year it could reach $ 15 billion.
The annual Forum, organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation by the Trade Representation of Russia in Great Britain together with the Roscongress Foundation, was held for the fifth time in Westminster at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center. Traditionally, during the RBBF discussions and round tables, the participants discussed the most pressing issues of trade relations: this year the Forum events were united by the topic of “numbers” in various fields - from banking services to urban studies.
Relations between the business communities of Russia and Great Britain continue to develop, and the growth in the number of participants in the Russian-British business forum held in London compared to last year proves this. We note the activity of both countries in both the trade, economic and cultural spheres as part of the implementation of the cross-year program of music of Russia and the UK in 2019. I am sure that the topics that were raised at this Forum are relevant for the whole world, therefore, the results of their discussions will make an important contribution to the further development of relations between business communities, ”commented Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation.
The development of cooperation in the field of digital technologies is one of the important goals of interaction between the two countries. So, at RBBF, the premiere of the Russian artificial intelligence system Dasha.AI took place, providing the fulfillment of all the functions of call centers: from finding employees for the company to processing customer orders.
The British company IXcelerate announced the construction of two data centers in Moscow with investments of more than $ 100 million. One of the most significant events of the Forum was the announcement of the launch of the Russian MIR payment system in the UK and other European countries through PayXpert acquiring.
“In recent years, we have observed a bright growth trend in Russian non-energy non-resource exports and the mutual interest of the two countries in high-tech products and services. In this economic context, it is necessary to create maximum conditions for the further development of Russian-British business relations, which - despite the political situation - demonstrate a steady increase in indicators, ”said Boris Abramov, Russia's trade representative in the UK.
Among the signatories held at the RBBF this year are an agreement on cooperation between the Roscongress Foundation and the Russian-British Chamber of Commerce and an agreement on export to the UK between Makfa and the Monolith distributor.
The Head of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives S. V. Chupsheva, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Telecommunications and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation M. V. Parshin, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation V. A. Zhivulin, Commissioner for the Protection of Entrepreneurs' Rights under the President of the Russian Federation took part in the V RBBF B. Yu. Titov, Executive Vice President of VimpelCom PJSC Artashes Sivkov, management of Sberbank of Russia, BP, British American Tobacco Plc, JCB, Hydro Industries, Albert Bartlett and other organizations.
In the evening, a gala reception was held at the Russian Embassy in London. The guests were addressed by the Ambassador of Russia A.V. Kelin, Trade Representative of Russia in the UK B.G. Abramov, as well as the head of the London office of the "BSI Group" A.S. Cherepanov.
The pianist Viktor Maslov, the laureate of international competitions, performed a concert in front of the guests. Also, the participants of the event were able to enjoy the game of the cross-group “Grad-Quartet”.