Representatives from business and politics explore possibilities for cooperation at the International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg despite political tensions. Qatar is the official host country for this year’s model. The country has concluded more than 65 agreements with Russia, including in the areas of agriculture and technology.
Saleh bin Majid Al-Khulaifi, of Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce, said the two countries have a long-standing relationship. “Trade between the two countries has increased by 50 percent. This forum is a crown jewel of Russian-Qatari relations. We have held more than 200 business meetings to improve cooperation and trade agreements between our two countries,” he added.
Putin: Most of the business representatives at the forum come from the United States
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that most of the business representatives present came from the United States, despite sanctions and counter-sanctions.
These are optimists, said Daniel A. Russell, President and CEO of the US-Russia Business Council: “Russian-US relations will continue to be a volatile mixture of competition and cooperation, but I believe that human relations will continue from one business to the next.”
A study presented at the forum showed that the number of foreign direct investment in Russia has decreased significantly due to the pandemic. Russia wants to change that.
Some companies abroad see opportunities and hope that the political context will not get in the way. Simone Mori, European President of the Enel Group, sees potential for Western companies.
“Human relationships and corporate relationships will continue.”
“We are the largest operator in the world in the renewable energy sector and we believe that Russia has an incredible untapped potential in this sector. I think we have great potential here because the natural resources in this country are huge, it is the land of energy. But it is not just energy that lies underground, Rather, the energy we have is in the form of wind and sun. We are optimistic that investing in this sector in Russia will be a great opportunity for Western companies.”
A study by Ernst & Young showed that in 2020, the year of the epidemic, Germany was the most active investor in Russia, followed by the United States and China.