Russia seeks to give extra impetus for economic cooperation with US, Lavrov says

Russia seeks to give extra impetus for economic cooperation with US, Lavrov says
# 26 March 2019 14:46 (UTC +04:00)

Moscow wants to give an additional impetus for economic and investment cooperation with Washington, which now falls short of its potential, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said opening a meeting with a group of representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce, ONA reports citing ITAR-TASS.

"Today Russian-US cooperation falls short of its potential," Russia’s top diplomat said. "We would like to give an additional impetus for our economic and investment cooperation."

According to Lavrov, to this aim Russian and US Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, discussed at their Helsinki summit in July 2018 the idea of setting up a coordinating business council involving top executives of five or seven major private companies from each side. The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) handed over to the US partners these initiatives. "However, we haven’t received any response so far. Probably, that’s because of the political environment that is currently dominating in the US," he said.

Nevertheless, bilateral trade has been steadily growing over the past two years, reaching $25bln in 2018. "This is less than the record-high level of $31bln in 2011 but much better than the figures that we saw when the Obama administration decided to destroy the basis of our cooperation," Lavrov noted. Mutual investments have been also on the rise, "reflecting the existing interest of US companies in the Russian market and reciprocal interest of Russian investors in the US," he said.

"We are interested in this and we are ready to provide every support for enhancing such business ties. The Russian president and government have repeatedly confirmed our desire to improve economic cooperation and cultivate investment climate," Lavrov stressed. "We want to attract foreign businesses, including from the United States, and create favorable conditions for them. We hope there will be also a favorable attitude towards Russia’s business circles," Lavrov stressed.

Meanwhile, now Europe and the US "insist that businesses should understand the need to sacrifice economy for politics." "I believe this is not normal, this contradicts the interests of businesses and the need to create more jobs," Lavrov stressed.

Russia’s top diplomat voiced hope that common sense will prevail, noting that "more voices in the West are heard in favor of this approach."

Moscow is counting on the active participation of representatives of American businesses at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which is due to be held on June 6-8, Lavrov said.