Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

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Vladivostok
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Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

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Petropavlovsk-
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Moscow

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Different politicians - for different oceans?

Why Russia and the United States should begin to interact in the Asia-Pacific region as actively as in the Atlantic - explained in Yakutsk

19-20 July, 2017, at the regular meeting of the Russian-American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) in Yakutsk, the expansion of Russian-American cooperation was discussed. Now it is very different in the west and in the east, which can be seen even in the case of large forums: at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the US business delegation is one of the most representative, and there is virtually no intercountry dialogue at the Eastern Economic Forum. EastRussia gives some of the most interesting views from the RAPP meeting.

Different politicians - for different oceans?
Photo: shutterstock.com
Representatives of federal ministries, regional authorities, business and educational institutions took part in the RAPP meeting from the Russian side. The American side was represented by a delegation of the US Consulate General in Vladivostok and business representatives. Following the two days of the meeting, the RAPP Secretariat will develop, within a month, a final resolution containing the main conclusions, proposals and recommendations.

According to the deputy director of the Department of Europe, North America and international organizations of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia Dmitry Sazhin, despite the obvious difficulties in bilateral relations, effective economic cooperation remains between Russia and the United States. He noted that of the representatives of 400 foreign companies that took part in the XXI St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), 144 came from the United States. In addition, for the first time after a three-year break, the Russia-US business dialogue was held within the framework of the SPIEF, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin took part. This in itself speaks of the possibility of building a constructive dialogue between our countries in the field of business. However, so far we are talking only about big business.

President of the Board and Executive Director of RAPP Derek Norberg Expressed an opinion on the need to separate Russia's relations with the United States in the Pacific from the Atlantic. In particular, when dealing with issues related to the Pacific and the Arctic, both countries need to be removed from disagreements in the Euro-Atlantic area. Relations between Russia and the United States in the Pacific show only a positive story, unlike the confrontations that were between the capitals of the countries.

Speaking about the policy of the Russian Federation on the development of the Russian Far East, Norberg noted the need to establish contacts and cooperation not only with the countries of Asia but also with the United States of America. A vivid example of the fact that Minvostokrazvitiya does not even consider the possibility of US participation in the development of the Far Eastern Federal District is the Eastern Economic Forum (WEF). At the key business event in the East of Russia, there is no site for a Russia-US country dialogue.

EastRussia help. In 1994, in Seattle (USA), Russian President Boris Yeltsin launched an initiative to intensify ties between the Russian Far East and the western states of the United States. The first meeting of the initiative working group, which was subsequently reformatted as the Russian-American Pacific Partnership, took place in 1995. RAPP's activities are aimed at developing trade and investment cooperation between the Far Eastern regions of Russia and the Pacific states of the United States. The partnership facilitates dialogue between governments, businesses and administrations of all participating regions. Now RAPP includes representatives of 11 regions of the Russian Federation (9 regions of the Far Eastern Federal District, Trans-Baikal Territory and the Republic of Buryatia) and 8 US states (5 states of the US west coast: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii; and the states of Colorado, Idaho and Texas).

Norberg's vision was supported by the meeting participants who recommended that RAPP contact the Ministry of Eastern Development and Roskongress with an official proposal to include issues of bilateral cooperation between the United States and Russia in the WEF business program, primarily in the areas of trade, investment and tourism.

US Consul General in Vladivostok Michael Kiis Commented that he does not yet know whether the US diplomatic corps located in Vladivostok will take part in the Eastern Economic Forum, since there was not yet a decision on this issue at the US Embassy in Russia. As for business representatives, he noted that American business has the right to decide whether to participate in the WEF or not.

At the same time, Kiys noted that one of the main missions of the US Consulate General in Vladivostok is to help develop trade ties. In his opinion, one of the biggest problems in the way of intensification of trade ties between the two countries is the lack of information about the Far East of Russia and an extensive marketing campaign to promote the opportunities of the Far East. When American business talks about Russia, it means it is the European part of Russia. In the opinion of the diplomat, the strategy of the Russian authorities to position Russia as a European country does not allow Russia's relations with the APR countries to reach a new level.

President of the "Primorsky Chamber of Commerce and Industry" Union and Chairman of the Board of the Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Far Eastern Federal District Boris Stupnitsky  Was elected last year as the Director of the RAPP Secretariat in Russia. Over the past year, he managed to communicate with a large number of businessmen from Russia and the United States. According to him, many US companies are not ready to conduct business in Russia, since the market of our country is not as promising and great as the markets of Asian countries. However, Russia can attract business and investors by creating special conditions. Over the past few years, Russia has adopted 17 federal laws aimed at developing the Russian Far East, and 16 laws are still under development.

It is also necessary that Russian entrepreneurs do not look at Americans only as investors and look more boldly at the American market. RAPP is ready to help in this, both in terms of legal advice and through the establishment of business contacts. Mr. Stupnitsky said that in the context of Russia's economic reorientation from imports to exports, it is natural that there is a certain decline, and the trade balance is changing. This must be approached with understanding and try to bring information to the business.

Boris Stupnitsky focused on the need to preserve RAPP, since so far RAPP is the only platform for interaction aimed at organizing a direct dialogue between the regional administrations of the Far East and Transbaikalia of the Russian Federation and the western states of the United States, business and scientific circles of the Russian Federation and the United States. In general, he sees the mission of RAPP in helping the emergence of Russian-American business relations at the level of small and medium-sized businesses.

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