Inching into better economic pastures

Business and political players are looking to inject fresh impetus into flagging trade after the Russo-British political reset.

The Russo-British Chamber of Commerce switched the slogan of its Russia Talk forum from last year’s “Back to Business” to a more measured “Trading Experience” in October, when more than 250 business leaders met in Moscow.

On the plus side, the trade volume between the two countries showed an increase of 20pc in the first eight months of the year. While not nearly enough to offset the 50pc drop of 2009, the growth gave rise to cautious optimism, especially after the low-key Medvedev-Cameron “reset” of political relations at the leaders’ recent talks in South Korea.

With an end in sight to the prolonged doldrums in bilateral trade, major players are also stepping up economic activity: TNK-BP announced this month that it would invest $3.8bn over the next three years into its gas business in Russia, reported Reuters. The company is expected to produce 13bcm of gas in 2010 from 143 fields.

At the diplomatic-economic level, UK business secretary Vince Cable concluded his visit to Moscow last week, hailing the talks as a “real breakthrough in our relations”, reported the Moscow Times . Cable also mentioned a “long and deep discussion” on Skolkovo, Medvedev’s hi-tech hub, which offers an opportunity to promote “wide collaboration in the technology field”.

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