28 April 2017
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Economic co-operation has traditionally been a priority area of Russia-UK relations. However, recent general deterioration of the political climate as a result of a non-constructive policy of the British leadership regarding settlement of the Ukrainian crisis affects trade and economic ties in 2015.

The interaction within key official co-operation mechanisms, including UK-Russia Joint Steering Committee on Trade and Investment as well as High level Energy Dialogue, was frozen on London’s initiative. British authorities have been actively promoting anti-Russian sanctions within the EU. Their implementation alongside with a drop of the oil prices led to a slowdown of Russian-British trade by 21% in 2014 and by 50% in first five month of 2015 in comparison with the same period of previous year.

By using ever more sophisticated excuses and methods British authorities continue to set artificial obstacles to prevent Russian capital from coming to the UK market. The last example is London’s blocking of the commercial deal with the participation of the Russian LetterOne, which made a bid to acquire 12 British oil and gas fields in the North Sea. A hypothetical possibility of this company’s inclusion in the anti-Russian sanctions list in case of its potential expansion was alleged as a reason. At the same time, by feeding the negative anti-Russian rhetoric, the UK authorities are, in effect, pushing British businesses interested in the Russian market to give up their previously considered projects.

However, British business community being interested in continuing normal relations with our country adheres to the constructive approach and does not support the attempts to politicize economic relations. This is specifically the reason why the UK  could maintain the position of one of Russia’s leading foreign trade and investment partners so far. Today about six hundred British companies continue to successfully operate in the Russian market. The UK keeps the position of the fifth largest investor in our country.

Russian business presence in the UK is also significant. The financial sector, energy, retail trade, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, mineral resources industry, transport, communications, pharmaceuticals and real estate are among the most attractive areas of investment co-operation. There remains interest in bilateral co-operation between our countries’ regions.

The London Stock Exchange is still the leading international platform for Russian companies accessing investors on global capital markets with more than 50 Russian and Russian-focused companies traded on the LSE. These include Sberbank, Gazprom, Lukoil, Rosneft, Norilsk Nickel, VTB, X5 Retail Group, SISTEMA, MegaFon and others.

The new impetus in our bilateral relations has been given by participation of large British companies in 19th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. A number of important accords have been agreed between the businesses of the two countries including Rosneft and BP as well as Gazprom and Shell. 

British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca continues its active investment business in Russia. A new hi-tech factory of complete cycle producing essential medicine to be officially launched in October 2015 in Kaluga region. It is expected to become one of the largest projects of the company in Europe in last several years.

Our two countries continue their co-operation aimed to transform Moscow into an international financial centre. The latest meeting of the relevant Joint Liaison Group took place in July 2014 in Moscow with the participation of over 40 financial and related industry professionals from both Russia and the UK.

Russo-British Chamber of Commerce traditionally remains a strong supporter of maintaining and developing trade, economic and investment bilateral relations. Its activities make a noticeable contribution in strengthening of direct contacts between Russian and British businesses.

Thus, despite the current complications caused by the UK Government policy, Russian and British businesses understand each other, which allow them to continue developing mutually beneficial ties and preventing bilateral trade and economic relations from further deterioration.


Last update: 14.08.2015