MOSCOW, January 25. Russian-French Council for economic, financial, industrial and trade issues (CEFIC) held its 21st session in Moscow after a two-year break. In the course of its work, both parties stated that, despite the European sanctions, and the difficult global economic situation, the two countries have many points of contact in the area of economic cooperation.
All sanctions of the West against Russia
The Council is the second largest body of intergovernmental interaction of Russia and France after the Russian-French Commission on bilateral cooperation at the level of heads of governments. In its framework there are a number of specialized working groups on the main directions of bilateral cooperation.
Russia at the meeting was represented by the Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev, France – Minister of economy, industry and digital technology of the Republic Emmanuel macron. “I think our present meeting will bring good results”, – said the speaker and invited the French colleagues to continue discussions and finalize a number of projects at the St. Petersburg international economic forum in June 2016.
Industry and cooperation
Opening the meeting, Ulyukayev said that the trade turnover with France in 2015 has decreased significantly, but investment was increasing French partners in the Russian economy. Implemented Russian-French projects in the field of electrotechnical industry, aircraft industry, production of building materials, energy, digital technologies.
“We welcome the participation of French companies in major construction projects in preparation for the FIFA world Cup, projects in the field of highways”, – the Minister added. The companies jointly entering the markets of third countries. An example is the work on manufacture of locomotives of Alstom and “Transmashholding”, which entered the market of Kazakhstan. “It is also our largest companies Rosenergoatom and Electricite de France for modernization of NPP in Bulgaria,” – said Ulyukayev.
He hopes for substantial growth of trade and investment Russia and France in 2016.
Business is tired of sanctions
One of the themes that have actively voiced at the opening of Council and a briefing on its results, was the abolition of EU sanctions against Russia and quite “warm” in recent years, the rhetoric of the French authorities. On Saturday, macron said that France intends to contribute to the lifting of economic sanctions against Russia, “if the provisions of the Minsk agreements will be implemented”. During the event, he once again reiterated his determination to lift the sanctions.
AFP: France intends to achieve cancellation of sanctions against Russia by the summer of this year
Ulyukaev said that he did not discuss sanctions against the Makron in the closed press meeting. But the Russian Minister said that he welcomes these statements of the French side. “We all feel fatigue from such negative developments associated with the sanctions and retaliatory sanctions. And here we must act in the interests of our Russian and French business, which in recent years faced with the problem, including the related imposition of sanctions and retaliatory sanctions”, – he said.
Thus, answering the question of whether Russia used to cancel its counter-sanctions, the Russian Minister said that Moscow would act only on the mirror. “Not the Russian side has imposed sanctions. Our counter-sanctions were caused by hostile action. Obviously, the reverse movement must be symmetrical, mirror. If our dear European friends will make the decision that is asked of business, we, in turn, will make the appropriate decision,” he said.
Macron stated that the sanctions do not create a favorable climate for business activity, however, there are areas and opportunities for new projects between the two countries.
According to the speaker, despite the fact that the Commission was not going two years, her work did not stop. This gave the opportunity to prepare several agreements and treaties that were signed following the meeting.
So, the speaker and macron put their signatures under the framework of the outcome document of the twenty-first session of the CEFIC.
The head of RDIF Kirill Dmitriev and President of the Caisse de Depot International Laurent Vigier signed a cooperation agreement of the Russian Fund and CDC Capital International S. A. (100% subsidiary of the group Caisse de Depot International). They created the Russian-French Fund invests in joint projects on development of small and medium business 1 billion euros. First the transaction is expected to finalize in the next 1.5 months, said Dmitriev. Its volume is over 100 million euros, and key parameters have already been agreed.
The Memorandum of cooperation signed the “SKOLKOVO” Fund and the group Electricite de France (EDF), the largest state-owned electricity company, France. The main technological areas of cooperation of the Memorandum will be energy efficiency in industrial facilities and in urban areas; and new ways of production and consumption of electricity, smart grids and smart cities, electricity storage and energy-efficient electric vehicle.
A number of documents with French partners signed JSC “Ural plant of civilian aviation” (UZGA). So, a license agreement with Airbus provides for the production in Russia, Airbus helicopters H135.
The Yamal LNG project without risk
The speaker and macron reported that during the work session, Council discussed the work in the project “Yamal LNG”. In this case, as said the head of the Ministry of economic development, the parties managed to find ways to avoid sanctions risks for French banks in the financing of the “Yamal LNG”. In fact, you will need to arrange financing so that, on the one hand, to fulfill the financial obligations of the project, and on the other hand, to protect French banks from those risks that may be because of the sanctions imposed by the U.S., has shared the Russian Minister.
About the project
OAO “Yamal LNG” implements the project of construction of plant on production of liquefied natural gas capacity of 16.5 million tons of LNG per year on the resource base of Yuzhno-tambeyskoe Deposit. Start of production of LNG in 2017.
In mid-December 2015 Chinese Fund “silk road” has signed an agreement to purchase from NOVATEK 9.9% of “Yamal LNG”. The intergovernmental agreement of Russia and China on buying Chinese Fund “silk road” of shares of the Yamal LNG project was signed in early September last year. Before the transaction the share of NOVATEK in Yamal LNG was 60%, and another 20% is owned by France’s Total and China National Petroleum Corporation. After the sale of the share of NOVATEK in the project will be reduced to 50.1%.