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Economic ties between Russia and Italy are developing, despite the sanctions

“This year, Russia, just like last year, is a country of strategic importance for us. We believe that when it comes to diversification and delocalization of production, Italy can become a key player of the process in the context of delocalization, innovations, establishment and development of small and medium enterprises network,” Manlio Di Stefano, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic.

“In July last year at the initiative of our colleagues from Italy, the President of the Russian Federation signed a law on lifting the 49% restriction on the participation of foreign capital in small and medium businesses. <...> The Corporation has an online resource, which, in my opinion, is unique, and our Italian colleagues confirmed this, it is called Business Navigator. <...> Analytical and statistical data show that 483,000 small and medium-sized enterprises of those that used the Business Navigator services showed a revenue increase. Together with our Italian partners, we are promoting this product to the Italian market,” Alexander Braverman, General Director, Chairman of the Board, Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation.

“Russia is the largest energy supplier to Italy. Since 2016, Rosneft has delivered more than 40 million tonnes of oil and oil derivatives to Italy worth more than USD 16 billion,” Emerson J. Milenski, Director of Oil and Gas Department in the Vice President Rank, Rosneft.

Italy is interested in investing in Russia

“Russia is in many ways a more stable country for our investments than many other countries, despite the difficulties,” Urbano Clerici, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Coeclerici Commodities SA.

“We are always interested in investing and modernizing the country’s industry. We see the will, the intention to invest on the part of large oil companies, and here there are great opportunities for both parties. In this context, we must work to accelerate these processes, to make them more effective, so that we could unlock the potential and assist small and medium-sized enterprises, both Italian and Russian, our historical partners, facilitate cooperation, create joint ventures with Russian enterprises,” Fabrizio Di Amato, Chairman, Maire Tecnimont SpA.


Small and medium enterprises contribute insignificantly to the Russian GDP

“Today, unfortunately, small and medium businesses produce only 23.3 per cent of GDP, the number of people employed in this segment is 19.2 million. By 2024, along the lines of the Presidential Executive Order, this number should grow to 25 million people, and the share of GDP should grow to no less than 32.5 per cent. <...> The Italian capital, knowledge and cooperation significantly contribute to our process towards these markers,” Alexander Braverman, General Director, Chairman of the Board, Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation.

The negative impact of anti-Russian sanctions on small and medium-sized businesses in Italy

“Medium and small businesses, of course, are still compromised by the reduction of commercial operations and exports to Russia. There is no denying that we have lost a lot under sanctions; the turnover of export operations with Russia has decreased. <...> We are optimistic. We expect Italy–Russia exports to grow by about 5 per cent next year,” Alessandro Decio, Chief Executive Officer, General Manager, SACE S.p.A.

The global business environment is unstable

“The rules of the world are uncertain and constantly changing. <...> Despite the uncertainty, business participants in Russia, Italy and other countries need to establish adequate, reliable contacts and to have a clear idea of the future,” Antonio Fallico, President, Conoscere Eurasia Association; Chairman of the Board of Directors, Banca Intesa.

"The world is changing. Everything has changed. We talked about completely different things three or four years ago. Now all processes are accelerating. We must try to gain new positions. It is not an easy task,” Alessandro Cassieri, Head of Paris Bureau, Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI).


Expansion of cooperation in the field of innovation

“First of all, we need a strategy. <...> It means to transform Made in Italy into Made with Italy, that is, to introduce know-how, new Italian technologies, which should be mastered together with Russian entrepreneurs. Thus, we need the environment, trust and the necessary tools,” – Pasquale Terracciano, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Italian Republic to the Russian Federation.

“The Skolkovo Foundation annually holds an event called Startup Village. It brings together startups from all over the country and invites foreign partners. Last year, we had a fairly large delegation of our Italian colleagues, who brought around 15 startups to our country. We were delighted to host this delegation because it was, to some extent, a seal of excellence. <...> This year the Italian delegation became our general partner of the event. We already met about 30 Italian innovation companies from different regions. <...> It seems that the potential for our cooperation in the field of innovation is enormous,” Victor Vekselberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Skolkovo Foundation; Chairman of the Board of Directors, Renova Group.

“New opportunities are created. This is about the export of Italian technologies. Snam produces methane compressors for vehicles. Russia’s petroleum production could generate 50 billion euros per year. A million cars are running on methane in Italy. It replaces gasoline. In Russia, gas costs about one dollar, compared to 18 dollars in Italy. It is a great opportunity for Russia and Italy, which can build enterprises here in cooperation with small and medium-sized businesses. As for hydrocarbons, Russia and Italy together can work on new sources of renewable energy,” Marco Alvera, Chief Executive Officer, Snam SPA.

Improving the effectiveness of international institutions

“Together, we should work towards the effectiveness of international institutions. <...> Our task, since Italy is a member of both the G20 and the G7, and Russia is a member of the G20, is to strive toward the effectiveness of these institutions, including [their independence, – Ed.] from the United States,” Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).

Waiver of Sanctions Policy

“Thanks to the Italian proposal, it was possible to convince European countries to review sanctions every time instead of their automatic renewal,” Manlio Di Stefano, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic.

The establishment of a visa-free regime

“We have two areas of focus. I do not think that because of the sanctions, we must deny people the opportunities. On the contrary, I believe that this is a way to welcome new opportunities. The second thing we talked about on the other panel this morning is the issue of visas. I do not think we should prolong the current visa policy. We should not refuse young people [the opportunity, – Ed.] to jump on a low-coster to Liguria to spend several days with their peers,” Giovanni Toti, President of the Liguria Region.

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