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RFPA President Andrey Guryev holds meeting of the Russia-Brazil Business Council on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

07.06.2024 | News

Andrey Guryev, President of the Russian Fertilizers Producers Association (RFPA), held a meeting of the Russia-Brazil Business Council on the sidelines of the 2024 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in the format of a business dialogue.

The event was also attended by Vladimir Ilyichev, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Chairman of the Russian side of the Intergovernmental Russian-Brazilian Commission on Trade, Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation; Alexander Shchetinin, Director of the Latin America Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Vladimir Padalko, Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Alexander Yakovenko, Rector of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and honorary member of the Russia-Brazil Business Council; Sergey Krasilnikov, Vice President and Managing Director of the Department of International Bilateral Cooperation of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE); Brazilian Ambassador to Russia Rodrigo de Lima Baena Soares; Alex Giacomelli da Silva, Director of the Department of Trade Promotion, Investments and Agriculture at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Almir Americo, Head of the Moscow Office of the Brazilian Trade Promotion and Investment Agency (ApexBrasil); Sergey Storchak, Senior Banker at VEB.RF; and representatives of Russian and Brazilian companies.

Opening the event, Andrey Guryev, President of the Russian Fertilizers Producers Association (RFPA), highlighted the continued record level of Russian-Brazilian trade turnover.

"In 2023, Russia-Brazil trade figures remained at the record level of 2022, totalling USD 8.4 billion. In addition to that traditional driver of bilateral trade turnover, the agro-industrial complex, we are seeing record figures in supplies of oil products from Russia to Brazil. The main exports to Brazil from Russia in 2023 were oil, coal and gas, together accounting for 56% of exports, and mineral fertilizers, which made up 35% of exports. The dynamics of the first quarter allow us to be very optimistic about the eventual 2024 results. We can set a new historical record in terms of the volume of bilateral trade. Despite sanctions pressure and difficulties with payments, logistics and insurance, trade turnover figures show that our companies are successfully overcoming the existing barriers through joint efforts," said the RFPA president.

Andrey Guryev also noted that 2024 is a landmark year for both national Business Councils: Brazil holds the G20 presidency, and Russia holds the BRICS presidency. With this in mind, the RFPA head proposed considering the possibility of holding a bilateral business forum on the sidelines of BRICS events in Russia or the G20 in Brazil.

An important factor for further increasing bilateral trade flows is the establishment of stable logistics routes and payment channels independent of intermediaries from unfriendly jurisdictions, said Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Vladimir Ilyichev.

The deputy minister also identified the high-tech sphere as an area of significant potential for further cooperation: "First and foremost, in the sphere of space exploration and the use of space for peaceful purposes. GLONASS ground stations are operating in Brazil, and the siting of further stations is currently being worked out."

"The Business Council is an excellent platform for exchanging best practices of Russian businesses active in the Brazilian market and discussing existing issues that hinder projects," said Vladimir Ilyichev.

The bilateral political dialogue between Russia and Brazil at high and the very highest levels stands out for its intensity, emphasized Alexander Shchetinin, Director of the Latin America Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"It is important that the Russian-Brazilian strategic partnership be underpinned by broad and diverse trade and economic cooperation as well as concrete, tangible joint projects. Particular attention should be devoted to further work in establishing an independent bilateral financial architecture. We share the position of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in favour of creating alternative settlement mechanisms and expanding the use of national currencies in foreign trade transactions," added Alexander Shchetinin.

Russian small and medium-sized businesses are starting to pay serious attention to the Brazilian market, noted Vladimir Padalko, Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI).

"Our main task is to bring together all these companies and create conditions for them to engage with worthy partners. We will now be working on this together with the National Committee for Economic Cooperation with Latin America and local branches of our Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI). Of course, we rely on the Business Council and our institutions that are now present in Brazil," added the CCI vice president.

Sergey Krasilnikov, Vice President and Managing Director of the International Bilateral Cooperation Directorate of the RUIE, suggested revisiting the issue of free trade between the EAEU and Mercosur: "There was a stage in 2017 when we were approaching negotiations between Mercosur and EAEU on the creation of a free trade agreement. This year is an opportunity to reflect on that and take a look at the trade and political component."

Over the past few years the dynamics of bilateral relations have been extremely positive, both economically and politically, said Brazil's Ambassador to Russia, Rodrigo de Lima Baenas Soares.

"Russia has become a key partner for Brazil. We can see that our political agendas align. As of 2022, Russia is Brazil's fifth-largest economic partner and also a strategic partner. Russia supplies us with a huge amount of fertilizers that help our agribusiness reach a new level," said the ambassador.

According to Alex Giacomelli da Silva, Director of the Department of Trade Promotion, Investments and Agriculture at the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, the business communities of the two countries are currently expressing considerable interest in boosting cooperation in pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and the chemicals industry.

"Russia is an exporter in which we have every confidence, and there is mutual interest from the business communities of both countries in cooperating across various fields. Of course, we are interested in ensuring that cooperation between the countries' Business Councils and business communities only grows stronger. We are making absolutely every effort to ensure it does," said the Brazilian Foreign Ministry official.

Almir Américo, head of the Moscow office of the Brazilian Trade Promotion and Investment Agency (ApexBrasil), emphasized the complementary nature of the two countries' economies: "There has always been huge potential between Russia and Brazil, a complementarity of their economies and a high level of interest from both the Russian and Brazilian side. It makes our job easier."

Sergey Storchak, Senior Banker at VEB.RF, noted the successful development of cooperation between the bank and its Brazilian counterparts.

"Cooperation between two leading development finance institutions, VEB.RF State Corporation and Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), is developing very successfully. For example, BNDES played a crucial role in the adoption of VEB's ESG strategy. A second important area is BNDES's experience arranging co‑financing or parallel financing, which has been passed on to us in the course of cooperation with our colleagues," said Sergey Storchak.

Russian and Brazilian businesses expressed keen interest in taking part in the business dialogue. The meeting was attended by senior executives from leading companies of both countries.

Eurochem CEO Oleg Shiryaev noted that the company supplied Brazil with 8 million tonnes of fertilizers last year, accounting for 20% of overall sales in the country. "Brazil is the largest country that buys fertilizers from EuroChem. We supply more than 35% of our fertilizers to Brazil," he added.

Fernando Galletti de Queiroz, CEO of Minerva Foods, one of the world's leading beef producers, said that Brazilian producers are prepared to increase meat supplies to Russia and drew attention to need to further improve logistics in this regard.

Both Russia and Brazil have the resources needed to produce raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry, said Tiago de Moraes Vicenci, President of the Brazilian Association of Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Industries. This opens up prospects for cooperation between companies in the industry, which will help increase life expectancy in both countries. 

Frederico Ludgren, Vice President of Be8, the largest Brazilian agro-energy company, announced the intention to actively cooperate with Russia in producing diesel fuel, and singled out biofuel production as a promising area of cooperation.

Anton Zubikhin, General Director of Trade House STM LLC, said that the company is interested in promoting railway construction machinery in the Brazilian market against the backdrop of the country's plans to expand its railway network.

Alexander Iodchin, First Deputy General Director for Strategy and Development of Delo Group, noted that cargoes from Brazil to Russia mainly go in refrigerated containers, whereas to Brazil they are transported by bulk carriers and tankers, both returning home empty. The solution lies in boosting trade in chemical and electrical products that are transported in containers.

Egor Kvyatkovsky, Vice President, Marketing and Development, Rusatom International Network (Rosatom State Corporation), noted that Rosatom is a key partner and supplier of nuclear fuel cycle and isotope products to the Brazilian market. The company is ready to develop cooperation and offers Brazil a comprehensive approach to the development of nuclear energy through the realization of both large and small-scale nuclear power plant projects.

Irina Yemchenko, International Business Development Director at Geropharm LLC, emphasized that the convergence of the two countries' regulatory requirements is key to cooperation in the field of pharmaceuticals. Steps in this direction have already been taken, she added.

Denis Vinokurov, Director of International Development and Communications at ChemRar Group, said that the company is working on cooperation with public and private enterprises in Brazil and sees demand on both sides for strengthening ties in the field of innovative pharmaceuticals.

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