SPIEF 2016 kicks off in St.Petersburg
The XX St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) is opening today in the Expoforum congress and exhibition center. The event will be attended by representatives of 600 Russian and some 500 foreign companies from 60 countries - the United States, France, Switzerland, Japan, Great Britain, Germany, Italy etc.
The forum will be also attended by the Vice President of Cuba's Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, Austria's Vice-Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner, 11 ministers from 10 countries and 6 CIS countries government's members.
The jubilee forum’s program will be one of the most extensive for the period of its holding: three days include over 100 events, including a forum of the Business 20, as well as business forums of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), a summit of energy companies, a conference on economic development of the Arctic and a special session of the Valdai Discussion Club.
In particular, the Global Energy Prize award ceremony will be held once again, as well as the Summit of Energy Companies, which will be attended by the heads of major organizations of the fuel-energy sector from many countries of the world.
The forum will be also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He will meet with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to discuss the prospects of relations between Russia and the European Union, the coordination between Russia and Italy in the fight against Daesh terrorist group, as well as the issues of political settlement in Syria and Libya.
Russian President will also have talks with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Among possible topics for discussion will be relations between Russia and the European Union, the anti-Russian sanctions and Russia’s counter measures, and the migration crisis in the European Union.
Putin’s next meeting will be with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. They will discuss efforts against international terrorism, the situation in Syria and the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.
Last but not least on the presidential schedule will be a working dinner with members of the international expert council of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and representatives of the international investment community, TASS reports.
In an interview to Vestnik Kavkaza, the head of Regional Banks Association and the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Innovative Development and Entrepreneurship Anatoly Aksakov emphasized a large scale of this year's forum. "To be honest, I have not seen such thing before. I participated in it since the beginning, since the opening of this forum 20 years ago. Over this time it expanded greatly, and the scale is really impressive this year, including the composition of foreign participants," he said.
The expert is sure that SPIEF will play an important role in the restoration of Russia's business contacts with the West. "It always helped. If in the past, and especially two years ago, there was a certain coolness, now we have a different trend, trend of warming and, accordingly, business forum can become a catalyst for this warming," he concluded.
Chief researcher at the Institute of International Economic Relations Studies of the Financial University under the Russian government Valery Abramov noted that this forum is "a platform for establishing contacts, and the arrival of a large number of representatives of the European and American businesses clearly indicates that they are ready to establish business contacts, continue to develop them."
"The position of business community is clear, it is different from the position of politicians, on the insistence of which the economic sanctions are imposed. Business of the Western countries suffers considerable losses, and naturally it affects its position in relation to Russia," he thinks.