The main stated theme of the forum in Davos was the so-called Fourth industrial revolution. However, the key statements at the forum were related to more tangible problems. In particular, they discussed such issues as refugees and migration policy, geo-economic challenges, global security, health.
MOSCOW, 23 Jan. The next international forum in Davos, Switzerland ended on Saturday. The main topics of discussion included the oil price, including in the light of lifting the sanctions on Iran in connection with the settlement of the nuclear program of Tehran. However, the subject of sanctions was present in the discussions about the relations between Russia and the West. U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry made the abolition of restrictive measures against Russia in the coming months.
The main stated theme of the forum was the so-called Fourth industrial revolution, which involves another change of industrial structure, the main characteristic of which will be further enhancement of production automation with use of modern information technologies. However, the key statements at the forum were related to more tangible problems. Organizers also brought in the agenda the problem of refugees and migration policy, geo-economic challenges, global security, health, education, gender differences and climate change. These themes were closer to the true debate in the Swiss town.
International forum in Davos is one of the main global venues where experts, politicians and businessmen discuss the pressing issues of world economy and politics. This year it was held from 20 to 23 January and has collected more than 2,5 thousand participants from 100 countries, not including 40 heads of state and government.
Falling oil prices
Dynamics of prices for oil on world markets January 20, predetermined the main theme of the discussions started on the same day the forum. On Wednesday the price of black gold had actively declined amid the global oversupply of raw materials on the market. WTI crude oil for the first time since September 2003 fell below 28 dollars per barrel.
One of the factors of the fall in oil prices, although its value is exaggerated experts believe, was the lifting of the sanctions on Iran in connection with the beginning of the implementation of the agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the problem of the Iranian nuclear program. It happened on Saturday, January 16.
To answer and urged the Iranian delegation. The Iranian foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that oil prices should adapt after returning Tehran to the market. He acknowledged that this could trigger a further decline in the cost of a barrel.
“I’m not an expert. But we are back on the market, which has been taken from us, and it needs to adapt to it,” he said.
In turn, the head of administration of the President of Iran Mohammad Nahavandian assured that Iran, as the largest producer of oil and gas can contribute to energy security of the European Union.
“Iran has the world’s largest oil and gas resources. These resources can be useful to ensure energy security, especially in Europe. In particular, opportunities for the development of gas projects, LNG projects,” said Nahavandian during a press conference on the sidelines of the world economic forum.
Some forum participants predicted the rise in oil prices and the establishment of fair, from their point of view, prices. So, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, noting that he believed the resumption of price increases, said he believes $ 60 to $ 70 per barrel oil price is optimal both for companies and for governments. UAE energy Minister of Sohail bin Mohammed al-mazroui partly agree with the opinion Aliyev. According to him, the fair price of oil is “somewhere” between 40 and 100 dollars.
However, not all were pessimistic. The Executive Director of the economic development Board of Bahrain Khalid al-Rumaihi, for example, it is stated that the decline in oil prices is a “blessing” that helps to move on to more innovative development.
Apparently, for this reason, the President of OPEC, Minister of petroleum resources of Nigeria Emmanuel IBE Cacique not hurry with the announcement of the holding of an emergency meeting of representatives of exporting countries. “We are still negotiating with members of OPEC, most inclined to pursue, but decisions yet,” said Cacique on the sidelines of the world economic forum.
The Possibility Of Iran
In addition to the discussions on declining oil prices, Iran’s view was sought after and due to the fact that the removal of sanctions opens up the possibility for foreign companies to freely conduct business in this newly opened country. The Iranian authorities used the Davos platform to advertise the capabilities of their economy.
So, the head of administration of the President of Iran Mohammad Nahavandian assured that GDP growth in Iran after the lifting of Western sanctions against the country will be at least 5% per year.
“The great potential of the Iranian economy, which is estimated by some experts as the most promising emerging market in the next decades, suggests that this is an achievable goal,” he said, speaking at an economic forum.
According to the head of the presidential administration of Iran, the authorities will take certain steps to develop the economy and attract investment.
“The administration understands that it is necessary to improve the business environment. We have already begun this work. Our document on the protection of foreign investments is one of the most progressive in the region. The private sector in Iran is now strong enough to be a reliable partner for foreign companies,” said Nahavandian, adding that changes in the monetary policy of Iran has already proven its effectiveness.
Iranian foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tried to dispel fears that the implementation of the agreement on the nuclear program could be derailed by internal Iranian opposition. “We have pluralism of opinions and points of view. This indicates a healthy and strong democracy,” he said.
But even if sanctions against Iran will be resumed, this will not be a tragedy for investors, said Nahavandian. According to him, “even if some of the sanctions and will be returned, no (new) investment contracts will not be affected”. He also noted that Tehran expects to become a WTO member, hopes to complete all procedures in 2016.
In addition, the Iranian authorities expressed hope for the growth of mutual investments of Moscow and Tehran. He also expressed the hope that Russia will clarify in Saudi Arabia the readiness of Riyadh to normalize relations with Tehran. By the way, the foreign Minister of Iran Zarif during his speech at the economic forum in Davos has categorically rejected the possibility of war with Saudi Arabia.
The subject of sanctions in the discussions with the participation of Iranian authorities was used mainly in the past tense. For Russia, this problem remains an issue in present and future relations with the West. However, were voiced at the forum new hints that for Russia they will soon be a thing of the past.
So, the Finance Minister of Finland, former Prime Minister and foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said that “relations between Russia and the West, especially between Russia and the EU today is much warmer than a year ago”. Although it is difficult to predict whether the sanctions are lifted.
And Chairman of the Munich security conference Wolfgang Ischinger believes that this year could be serious changes in the relations between Russia and the West. He also expressed confidence that Russia and the West will find a way to get Russia part of the “Big eight”. He also urged Russia and NATO to take steps to ease the tension and resume negotiations, in his opinion, the Alliance has demonstrated such a desire.
In turn, French foreign Minister Laurent Fabius did not deny the signs of climate warming in the relations Russia — EU, but stressed that “there is still work to be done and need to work together”.
But the main news topics of the sanctions were the words of U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry.
“In the beginning of this week here in Davos Vice President (USA Joseph) Biden and I met with the Ukrainian President (Petro) Poroshenko, to help ensure full implementation of the Minsk agreements. And I am sure that thanks to the efforts and legitimate efforts to resolve the problem with both sides in the coming months it is possible to perform the Minsk agreement and come to the time when sanctions may be in relation to the full implementation dropped,” he said.
Russia — Ukraine
In comparison with last year the situation in Ukraine, the crisis in the South-East of the country was not dominant items on the agenda. This topic was discussed at the bilateral meetings of the Ukrainian authorities and the United States, but more attention was attracted to a new problem — the settlement of the Ukrainian debt to Russia and the delivery of Russian gas through that country.
The Minister of Finance of Ukraine Natalie Jaresko said that Ukraine is in constant dialogue with Russia on the debt at $ 3 billion through the German Ministry of Finance to arrange for the holding of a Ministerial meeting.
“We are in constant dialogue,’ she replied to the question of whether the Ukrainian side to send the invitation to Russia to start negotiations on the debt. — We (are) in constant dialogue with the German Ministry of Finance and through the German Ministry of Finance — with Russia.”
However, she expressed regret that “the Russian delegation was unable to meet here (in Davos)”.
However, the Russian Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov has soon denied this information. “No,” Siluanov responded to the question, are underway with Ukraine in any negotiations on debt repayment.
He also confirmed the intention of Moscow to file a lawsuit against Ukraine by the end of January.
“No. Toward the end of the month,” said the Minister on another issue, gave Russia the claim to Ukraine and if not, when planning to file.
Another issue of Ukrainian-Russian agenda was the delivery of gas. Vice-President of the EC energosoiuz maroš Šefčovič said that the European Commission is discussing with Russia and Ukraine the possibility of holding a new Ministerial trilateral meeting on gas and wanted to discuss her passing this winter and further work.
“We’re coming to the end of the heating season. I think it would be a good idea to hold a trilateral meeting to evaluate the heating season, to discuss how to prepare for a further period. I think there are a lot of questions for discussion. We are now discussing this possibility with both parties — Russia and Ukraine. We are in contact with them,” he said, noting that the specific date yet.
Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin stated that Ukraine supports the continuation of the tripartite format of gas talks, while stressing that there should be a defined agenda. But the Russian side does not see the need for it.
“We have all the rules of the game clear to the end of the first quarter, so you can gather it is not necessary”, — told reporters in Moscow the Minister of energy Alexander Novak, commenting on the proposal Sefcovic.