Just business: what he was talking about foreign investors with Medvedev

The thirtieth meeting of the Consultative Council on foreign investments (FIAC), which traditionally arrive heads of the largest international investment companies took place in Moscow today. As stated on its results, the Minister of economy Alexei Ulyukayev, the meeting has attracted this year, “more [foreign investors] than ever over the last ten years.”

To communicate with foreign business format FIAC the Russian government began in the mid 1990-ies, in the midst of a process of opening to international companies, their local offices. As repeatedly noted by the participants of the Council, a meeting of business and the Russian authorities was a kind of “indicator of investment attractiveness of the country.” So, in 2014 — against the backdrop of the unfolding political and economic scandals, the meeting in Russia came only half of the participants. Restore the “appearance” was waiting for this year.

As stated today in opening remarks to foreign investors, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the total amount of investment of the members of the Consultative Council in the Russian economy (in 2016, the Council is composed of 54 companies) for a total of about $160 billion. “We have passed the most difficult period, when our economy was forced to adapt to external shocks, — said the head of government. — We have achieved a number of good results. We now have the lowest inflation for the entire period of the existence in Russia of a market economy, in fact, for 25 years. We expect that inflation next year will amount to about 4%, which will create a fundamentally different working conditions in the market.” In addition, Dmitry Medvedev also promised the foreign guests that “with the economy recovering on a trajectory of growth.” “This growth is still very weak, nevertheless it is growth, and let’s hope that the replacement possibilities are not exhausted,” he added.

After the introductory remarks traditionally, the meeting takes place behind closed doors: Council members report to Prime Minister their suggestions on improving the performance of the business in Russia and the challenges they face. As assured the managing partner of EY in Russia Alexander Ivlev, the topic of sanctions and policy at the meeting had not been addressed, “they discussed specific issues related to improving the business climate”.

As told following the meeting, Alexei Ulyukayev, all the issues that troubled investors was formed in several blocks: “almerigogna environment, the development of investment in agriculture and processing industry, pharmaceuticals, and financial markets”. So, the members of the Council discussed with the Prime Minister the issues of market regulation and disposal of solid waste, application of VAT for companies, who pay a single agricultural tax, “the development of special investment contracts in General and in pharmaceutics in particular,” the Minister said.

Following the meeting, traditionally prepared instructions to the profile ministries and departments. “This year number of leaders from international business among the participants of the plenary meeting of FIAC confirms that foreign investors are serious and are willing to cooperate to achieve sustainable economic growth. Among the main elements of success on this path — the evolution of the sector of small and medium enterprises, the localization of raw materials and competitiveness in global markets,” said following the meeting, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.

At the meeting of the FIAC Pascal Sorio, chief Executive officer, AstraZeneca, on behalf of the working group “Healthcare and pharmaceuticals” addressed to representatives of the Russian government “key issues of concern to the industry,” said the company. In particular, discussed the findings of the special investment contracts (SPIK) in the pharmaceutical industry as a mechanism to support investors in Russia. Also announced its proposal to grant the local status of the drug produced in the framework of Speke, Express check-out products, as well as the conclusion with the state-term contract for the supply of such drugs.

According to Irene Rosenfeld, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mondelēz International, also participated in today’s meeting, “FIAC is a unique and effective platform for dialogue between foreign investors and senior officials of the Russian government.” “I participate in the FIAC meeting for the fifth time and think it is valuable to the business of our company in Russia. This site addresses the real issues associated with our business, such as the issue of zero tariffs on cocoa products, which previously raised by our company. Zero duty was approved at the beginning of this year, and this decision is already having a positive impact on the entire confectionery industry of Russia”, — she noted. This year, she said, “was an open discussion with the Prime Minister about the state of the economy and recent changes in legislation which affect all local producers (including the Russian companies).” “We were able to learn first-hand about the initiatives of the government to restore economic growth,” — said Irene Rosenfeld.