21 August 2018
Moscow: 12:47
London: 10:47

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Economic co-operation

Economic co-operation has historically been a priority area of the Russia-UK relationship. However, Anti-Russian sanctions imposed by western countries in 2014 following disagreements around settlement of the Ukrainian crisis affected trade and economic ties. Thus, bilateral turnover in the period of 2014-2016 has been consistently decreasing (in 2016 it dropped by almost 8% to $10.4 bn). Interaction in the framework of the key official co-operation mechanisms, including the UK-Russia Joint Steering Committee on Trade and Investment and the High-Level Energy Dialogue, has been frozen on London’s initiative.

However, in 2017 and the first half of 2018 we witnessed a slight revival of trade and economic ties. According to Russian statistics, in 2017 our bilateral turnover with the UK grew by almost 23% (to $12.8 bn) and in the period from January to June of 2018 it increased by 19% (to $6.9 bn) as compared to the same period of the previous year.

At the same time, British business community being interested in continuing normal relations with our country is maintaining a constructive approach. This is specifically the reason why the UK has been able to remain one of Russia’s leading foreign trade and investment partners so far. Today about six hundred British companies continue to operate successfully on the Russian market. The UK is still on of the ten largest investors in our country.

Russian business presence in the UK is also significant. The financial sector, energy, retail trade, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, mineral resources industry, transport, communications, pharmaceuticals and real estate are among the most attractive areas of investment co-operation. There remains interest in bilateral co-operation between our countries’ regions. The London Stock Exchange is still the leading international platform for Russian companies accessing investors on global capital markets with more than 60 Russian companies traded on the LSE. These include Gazprom, Rosneft, Sberbank, VTB, Lukoil and other leading Russian companies. However, with Russian firms loosing their confidence in British regulation, in view of the politicized campaign against our country, this sphere has also witnessed negative dynamics.

Regular active participation of large British companies (BP, Shell, AstraZeneca, Unilever, BAT and others) in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum also provides a boost to our bilateral relations. The Russo-British Chamber of Commerce traditionally remains a strong advocate of maintaining and developing trade, economic and investment bilateral relations. Through the Joint Liaison Group our two countries continue their co-operation aimed to transform Moscow into an international financial centre. The Special Taskforce on Financial Technologies was created within that Group in 2017.

Thus, despite the current complications caused by the UK Government’s policy, bilateral economic cooperation is still developing, mostly due to constructive interaction of Russian and British businesses, preventing bilateral trade and economic relations from further deterioration. The Russian Embassy in London supports such activities.