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ST. PETERSBURG, June 15. /TASS/. More than 5,000 participants representing Russian regions and other countries and 780 companies, including from United States and Europe, have confirmed their applications to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), due June 18-20, St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko said in an interview with TASS.
"A week prior to the forum, we have 5,072 confirmed applications from participants, which also exceeds last year’s figures. The number of companies, as well as companies’ chief executives, is growing. A month prior to the start, 780 companies sent their confirmation. Last year there were 750-755 companies in the same period," Poltavchenko said.
He said 20 ministers from 18 countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS, a loose association of former Soviet countries) and another seven ministers and government members from the CIS are expected to attend. Representatives of 58 Russian regions will also come.
Poltavchenko said "SPIEF geography is not narrowing but on the contrary expanding."
"Big companies that earlier came to us, including from the United States, Germany, Britain are still going with interest. Business is business. Political differences do not much affect serious business," the governor said.
He said the US firms include BCG and McKinsey & Company, German companies - Metro AG and TUI AG. "Businesses of Italy, Finland, France, Switzerland, Canada, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates will be broadly represented. There will certainly be more representatives of Chinese business this year," he said.
"The interest in the event on the part of other countries of BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa], as well as Southeast Asia, is growing. I am convinced the forum will be held at the highest level this year," Poltavchenko said.
He said St. Petersburg is 100% ready for the forum, which annually "becomes a certain test for competence." "On the other hand, it’s an opportunity to once again stress attractiveness of St. Petersburg in many respects, including for investment," the governor said.
At the forum, St. Petersburg will present investment projects in transport infrastructure, science and innovations, energy, culture and tourism.