Ladies and gentlemen!
On behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation I am happy to welcome the participants in the annual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Business Council.
Over decades, the Council has actively contributed to the development of trade, economic and investment cooperation between Russia and the US. It plays a positive role in strengthening the constructive dialogue between the business communities of the two countries.
It is important that irrespective of the state of the Russia-US political relations your organization has consistently supported the maintaining of pragmatic and mutually beneficial cooperation, and the implementation of joint economic and investment projects.
The Council renders effective multifaceted assistance to entrepreneurs, including small and medium enterprises. It helps create new jobs. All this stimulates economic growth in Russia and the US.
The work of the U.S.-Russia Business Council acquires particular importance in the context of unilateral sanctions imposed against Russia and new global economic challenges. You support the improvement of the business climate, and oppose barriers in trade and investment.
I would like to stress that confrontation does not take anyone anywhere. It constrains business initiative, boomerangs against the interests of a particular business, and limits business opportunities.
Russia maintains a fundamentally different view. We continue to improve conditions for activities of foreign, including American, business. Certainly, we have to respond to discriminatory, non-legal restrictions imposed against us. It is not our choice and we are not going to pose any obstacles.
On the contrary, we support active presence of leading US companies in the Russian market. We note their great practical contribution to the activity of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council that I chair. Its next meeting will be held the following week in Moscow.
We welcome the participation of US entrepreneurs in high-profile international economic fora held in our country. We expect a similar approach to Russian business from the US leadership.
It is important that Russia-US trade and economic ties have a sound foundation. Despite unfavourable environment, the bilateral trade turnover, which decreased last year due to the COVID-nineteen pandemic, shows a steady upward trend.
In January-July 2021, the bilateral trade grew by forty seven percent compared to the same period last year, and amounted to nineteen billion eight hundred million dollars.
Besides, the Russian export rose by sixty percent and reached almost ten billion dollars. The imports from the United States increased by a quarter and exceeded sixteen billion dollars. The statistics is most illustrative.
I am convinced that there are many promising areas for cooperation between our countries. For example, Russian and US companies could take part in joint projects in the Arctic to preserve unique ecosystems and ensure balanced development of the region.
We can and should together address global climate change. And tackle the COVID-nineteen pandemic.
The Russian Government deems it important to create favourable conditions for the development of Russia-US trade, economic and investment cooperation, joint exploration of new business opportunities, and launch of promising projects to promote practical interaction and increase prosperity of the Russian and US people.
To finish this intervention, I would like to wish you fruitful discussions, successful work and implementation of all plans.