Russia - US: Is there economic interest?

In recent days, much has been said about the need to improve political relations between Russia and the United States and bring positions closer together. Meanwhile, some experts believe that economy can become the basis to maintain the relations at an acceptable level. The Deputy Director of the Institute of the US and Canada Studies of the RAS, expert of the Russian International Affairs Council Viktor Supyan, admits that so far the Russian-US economic relations have not become an engine of development, like the relations between the United States and China, where the volume of trade exceeds $500 billion, and US investments in China are enormous.

"The same could not be said of our mutual bilateral economic relations. The situation is quite sad here. The volume of trade last year barely reached $20 billion, declining from the peak of 2011, when it exceeded $43 billion. That is, even that small decent level has declined more than twofold," the expert says.

In his opinion, this is due to both objective and subjective factors: "The objective ones are due to the fact that their mutual interests are relatively small. What was Russia selling to the US all these years? These are hydrocarbons, metals, raw materials. Although there were knowledge-based products - half of all US nuclear power plants operate on Russian fuel. We deliver missile engines to the US, with the help of which they fly to the international space station. That is, we have the scientific and technological potential, but the overall economic potential is not great. The US has an interest to expand its economic expansion, occupy a niche of individual companies in our market. But the situation does not change for the better as the development of shale gas and oil  increased". Speaking about Russia's economic interest in the United States, Victor Supyan noted that Russia is interested in US technologies, expanding investment and trade relations.

Speaking of the subjective factors, which worsened relations after 2014, the expert said that these were sanctions: "The US stopped supplying us with equipment for oil production, especially for the Arctic regions. Together, objective and subjective factors give no cause for optimism, but despite the decline in the volume of trade, there are areas where we continue to cooperate quite successfully. These are areas not affected by the sanctions, for example: pharmaceuticals, a public catering. There are zones of cooperation, which, fortunately, have not yet been affected by either sanctions, or political difficulties. "

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