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ST. PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. The 19th annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will open on June 18. Its motto is "Time to act: shared paths to stability and growth."
Organisers expect over 1,600 companies, including over 840 foreign and 732 Russia, to participate in the forum. In 2014, the event featured 1,385 companies, including 658 foreign businesses.
This year’s forum will feature 59 top managers - those on the Forbes and Fortune lists. The organisers say only two top managers of leading international companies, who initially confirmed their participation, had to cancel their arrivals for reasons related to business - heads of Ciisco and of Novartis.
Confirmations have been received from top managers of Metro AG, Shell, TUI AG, Total, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), BP, Enel, Eni, Societe General, KinRoss, and of Asian businesses.
The business programme is based on four topics: Global economy: new challenges and shifting horizons; Human capital and talent development; Russia: seizing the opportunities; Disruptions: trend and technologies. Besides, this year the organisers introduce a new format - debates - to discuss most interesting questions from different positons.
The event will offer SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) business forums, a B20 regional consultation forum, the Russia-China intergovernmental commission will be devoted to investment cooperation. The programme also includes eight business roundtables.
Media Summit will be a part of the forum.
The business programme will feature over 500 speakers and moderators.
The participants are expected to sign several big contracts. For example Venezuela’s PDVSA state-owned oil company and Russia’s Rosneft will ink an agreement on joint work on new projects in Venezuela. TASS has information that the two companies and the two countries will sign several important agreements to develop cooperation, new projects in Venezuela and to organise training programmes for staff of the two companies.
The forum’s key event will be a plenary session, featuring Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Besides, the event organisers are expecting participation of high level delegations from China, Greece, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan.
As many as 36 ministers from 28 foreign countries and nine ministers and government officials from the CIS countries, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have confirmed their participation.
The organisers expect arrival of over 1,675 delegates from Russia and 62 countries, including the US, France, the UK, Germany and others.
In an interview with TASS, head of the organisers’ foundation, Sergei Belyakov, said "we do not have non grata personas, and we do not want to guarantee a loyal discussion. The objective we have is to offer a platform for discussing views, to make sure the delegates hear either side in a discussion." He said the forum participants mentioned last year they had received calls from the European Commission or from the White House to be critical about the invitations to the forum. This year, the pressure is less.
Financial Times wrote earlier that the US authorities did not intend pressing businesses not to attend the forum. However, TASS reported, the official authorities chose from refrain from going to the forum.
The forum this year will be the last event to be organised at the venue of Lenexpo.
In 2016, it will take place at the newly built Expo-Centre. The new venue has modern infrastructures, convenient for big events, organisers say.
The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) was founded in 1997 and since 2006, it has been held under the auspices of the President of the Russian Federation. SPIEF gathers the leading decision-makers of the emerging economic powers to identify and deliberate the key challenges facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world at large, while engaging communities to find common purpose and establish frameworks to forge solutions which will drive the growth and stability agenda. Over the past decade, the Forum has developed into a leading global business network, which attracts over 7,500 international and Russian participants, including government and business leaders from the emerging economic powers as well as leading global voices from academia, the media, and civil society.