Russia could set up new trade representative offices in Southeast Asia, Africa - Economic Development minister

The revamp of Russia's network of trade representative offices abroad could be completed in a couple of years, Russian Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov said at a press briefing in Moscow.

"If nothing stands in our way, I plan to finish the reorganization of our trade representative offices' operations by 2015. We need to decide where trade representative offices should stay and where we can do without them," he said.

Russia's trade representative offices currently function in 53 countries, mostly in CIS states and European nations, the minister said.

"I my opinion, a trade representative office should operate in each CIS country, but there are too many of them in Europe. At the same time, the number of our trade representative offices present in Southeast Asia is insufficient, and there is a critical shortage of them in Africa," he said.

The performance of all trade representative offices will be assessed using new criteria, including the opinions of companies operating on the market of the country in question, Belousov said.

"The presence of trade representative offices is relevant to countries where Russian companies both have interests and where these interests have been put into practice in the form of concrete projects," the minister said.

The ongoing reorganization of the system of trade representative offices will not require any additional funding or human resources, he said.

"If we decide to set up new [representative offices], we will do it by shutting down some of our existing offices," the minister said.

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