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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

29.11.2019

Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s speech at the opening of the V Russian-British Business Forum in London, 27 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen! 

I am pleased with the opportunity to deliver my first speech as Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom at the Russian-British Business Forum.

Over the five years, the Forum has become a solid platform for open and direct dialogue and exchange of views, involving both business community and officials. The number of participants has been growing annually. Together, we have managed to create a constructive atmosphere of partnership.

We are grateful to our Russian and British partners for their active support of such an effective and promising dialogue platform. Let me express my special thanks to His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent for his unfailing assistance in strengthening Russian-British relations. I would like to emphasize the systematic work of Russo-British Chamber of Commerce in this area as well as that of many British and Russian companies.

Our meeting is taking place in time of major changes in the global economy and politics. Not only economic crises, trade wars, natural disasters and climate-related threats characterize this turbulent era. The world is facing a shift of techno-economic paradigm. The unprecedented development of science and technology opens up previously unknown opportunities for universal prosperity and solving the global problems. The knowledge we have allows us to achieve it. The key is to avoid barriers to the mutually beneficial exchange of information, goods and services. Our Forum, dedicated to the crucial topic of digitalization, also seeks to contribute to this process.

For its part, Russia is making a significant contribution to the world’s sustainable development. Political and social stability along with high macroeconomic performance create a solid base for further growth. It includes a high GDP, resilient financial system, low public debt, stable prices, significant gold and foreign currency reserves, nearly full employment.

Russia navigates well the sea of new opportunities which open up through advanced technologies and broadening of international ties. In the age of the 4th global industrial revolution, we have formulated our own effective model of sustainable development. We adopted the Paris Agreement this September and intend to hold a high bar of our climate-related obligations.

Russia has everything necessary to get adjusted to the new conditions. Our country has moved several dozen positions up in the World Bank’s «Doing Business» index only in five years and now stands among the top 30 economies. We pursue major structural changes in our economy in order to ensure its diversification and transition to an advanced growth pattern. It is based on knowledge, innovation, improvement of human capital and liberal economic order. In the years to come, the Russian government plans to spend tens of billions of dollars on economic reforms. The share of small and medium enterprises in the economy will be doubled by 2025 up to 40 % of GDP.

Russia implements a number of plans and programmes aimed at transition to the digital economy, introducing brand new approaches to regulation, establishing necessary institutions and contributing to investments increase. We have reached the 10th place in the world in terms of broadband internet access. The first 5G network was launched earlier this year. The National Artificial Intellect Strategy has been adopted. Active work is under way with regard to a draft law on digital financial assets, which will be among the first of its kind in the world. The digitalization is expected to add a percent point to GDP growth in the mid-term.

The high economic potential of Russia and our serious plans to fully unroll it is recognized internationally. Foreign business shows great interest in our country. International forums in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Sochi always attract government officials and heads of biggest transnational enterprises from around the world. Deals worth billions dollars are forged during these events.

The latest successful example is the Investment Forum “Russia Calling!” which took place last week in Moscow. A frank exchange of views between the Russian leadership and leading business figures from Russia and abroad confirmed our openness to interact with all interested partners on mutually beneficial and non-politicized terms.

As repeatedly emphasized, the Russian government constantly works to improve the business climate in our country. We provide foreign business with all necessary assistance and this also applies to British companies.

British business understands this well. They show wisdom and pragmatism while increasing cooperation with their Russian partners in various sectors.

We are confident that a positive economic agenda will become a powerful incentive aimed at improving and strengthening our bilateral relations in all spheres, for the benefit of both "the global Russia" and "the global Britain".

I wish success to all participants of the Forum in their activities, as well as new interesting and productive meetings and expansion of their business and personal contacts.

Thank you for your attention.




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