Ambassador Anatoly Antonov’s remarks at the opening of the Annual Meeting of the U.S. Russia Business Council via videoconference
Anatoly Antonov: I would like to greet the participants of the meeting of the U.S. Russia Business Council, which unites representatives of companies that have been working successfully on our market for a long time. I am grateful for the opportunity to interact with you and share assessments of the current state of relations between Russia and the United States.
It is a great honor for me to inform you that Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Vladimirovich Mishustin has sent a video message for the participants:
I would like to join Mr.Mishustin in wishing you every success.
Your annual meetings have become an important venue for stimulating cooperation in the economic sphere. They provide an opportunity to exchange views on the topical problems and prospects of business ties between Russia and the US as well as ideas on how to improve investment climate in our country.
On our part, we work to maintain a high level of participation in the events of the Council. For the second year running, the Chairman of the Government has addressed the meeting. Upon his instructions tomorrow Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation Anton Germanovich Siluanov will take part in the meeting as a keynote speaker by videoconference. Anatoly Borisovich Chubais, Special Presidential Representative for Relations with International Organizations for the Sustainable Development Goals, will also deliver remarks.
As a result of the Geneva summit, first positive, though modest, shoots appeared in the dialogue between Moscow and Washington. The constructive and businesslike meeting of the presidents made it possible to outline ways out of the dangerous impasse in the bilateral relations.
It has to do with the resumption of dialogue on strategic stability, which has always served as a kind of barometer of the general condition of Russian-U.S. relations. The second round of consultations between interagency delegations headed by deputy foreign ministers was held in Geneva on September 30.
The talk was professional and useful. A common understanding was reached regarding the goal of the strategic dialogue which is to define parameters of the arms control architecture as a follow-up to the existing New START Treaty. Two working groups have been established. This will help focus discussions, make them more substantive. Our delegations will deliberate on principles and tasks of the future arms control as well as capabilities and actions that could have a strategic effect.
The presidents of Russia and the United States have agreed to launch dialogue on cybersecurity. Four rounds of expert consultations under the auspices of the Security Councils of the two countries have taken place. There are some little, but concrete results in curbung hacker activity. We are responding to all the concerns that Washington conveys to us through the established channels.
At the same time we face attacks on our resources likewise. One of the most recent incidents – heavy attacks against information network of the Russian Central Election Commission during the State Duma elections. Fifty percent of those attacks have been committed from the territory of the United States.
It is important to understand that the fight against crime in the virtual space is only one of the aspects of international information security. This issue is much broader and, given the dynamic development of communication technologies, will require more and more attention.
In this regard, we have reiterated the proposal of the President of Russia from September 25, 2020, to establish comprehensive cooperation on cybersecurity issues in their entirety, including to prevent militarization of Internet and cyberweapons arms race.
We hope that these important initiatives will help become the cementing element that will keep Russian-U.S. relations from getting out of control. This process will clearly take time, as well as persistence and patience from both sides. It is important to restore trust that has been lost recently.
We are living in a difficult period. Most international problems are distinctly cross-border in nature. In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, these include terrorism, environmental problems, proliferation of WMD, numerous regional conflicts. Such challenges can be successfully addressed only through joint efforts. In this regard, I am pleased to note the sustained dialogue with the United States on the Arctic, climate change, Afghanistan, North Korea, Syria, the JCPOA.
I know that many of you are concerned about the possibility of issuing visas for mutual trips of entrepreneurs. I can assure you that the Russian diplomatic missions in the United States continue to process visas in full, despite the difficult staffing situation due to the ongoing "visa war" which continues not through our fault.
Russian-U.S. economic cooperation and pragmatic interaction at the level of companies continue. These days Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk will be on a visit to the U.S. capital city. He is going to meet representatives of the U.S. administration and businesspeople specifically to discuss the issues of bilateral trade and investments.
The United States is one of the leading economic partners of Russia (7th place). This year the amount of operations may be close to the 30-billion threshold.
It is encouraging to witness a continuing high interest of American companies in the Russian market. A vivid example is the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where, U.S. private business delegations have been among the largest for several years in a row.
The United States remains among the leading investors in the Russian market. The U.S. shares the second place with China (the first place - Germany ). According to various estimates, there are more than 1100 companies with American capital in our country. About 160 of them are «subsidiaries» of leading corporations. A recent survey by the consulting company «Ernst & Young» and the American Chamber of Commerce says that the accumulated investments of US business in Russia has already exceeded 96 billion dollar.
And these figures will grow as your activity in Russia continues to expand. New «JohnDeere» and «Procter & Gamble» facilities have been launched over the past year. Oilfield services company «Baker Hughes» and PJSC «Lukoil» signed an agreement on the development of a technological partnership for the implementation of advanced solutions in the field of reducing greenhouse emissions. «Exxon-Mobil» Corporation's investments are expanding. Agro-giant « Cargill » is completing the construction of new plants.
We understand that economic sanctions and various tariff barriers imposed by Washington hinder business cooperation. They force you and us to look for gaps to develop bilateral cooperation. However, I would like to assure you that Russian authorities are not going to punish Western business for "unfriendly" decisions of its governments. On the contrary, we are constantly working to improve business climate in order to make it comfortable and safe for you to work in Russia.
We are confident that today, in the dialogue with the United States, it is the economic ties that carry a significant stabilizing potential for the entire complex of bilateral relations.
Thank you for your attention!