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ST. PETERSBURG, June 18. /TASS/. Problems of the global economy, attracting foreign investors to Russia, the search for new sources of growth in conditions of Western sanctions, anti-crisis measures and issues of the monetary policy will be the key topics for discussion on the first day of the 19th Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday.
A total of 843 representatives of 450 foreign companies, including PwC, Ernst&Young, McKinsey, Metro AG, Shell, TUI AG, Total, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), BP, Enel, Eni, Societe General, KinRoss, have confirmed their participation. In all, the forum is expected to be attended by representatives of 1,600 companies.
A major event of the forum’s first day will be a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and CEOs of the world’s biggest investment and sovereign funds. According to Kirill Dmitriyev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the meeting will be attended by representatives from more than 27 fund from 16 countries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, China, European and Middle East countries. It demonstrates the interest long-term investors still have in Russia, Dmitriyev said.
The entire economic bloc of the Russian government will be present at this meeting, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists. "Typically, participants in such meetings are those organizations that are co-investors with the Russian Direct Investment Fund. As a rule, they speak about projects they implement, about their problems and about what the authorities should do to help," he said.
Apart from that, Russian President Vladimir Putin will have a bilateral meeting with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman. "Saudi Arabia is a country possessing huge investment resources and of course we should fight for this resource," the CEO of the SPIEF foundation, Sergey Belyakov, told TASS. "If the political leadership of the country at the top level is coming here to discuss the agenda of cooperation and possible investment, this is a demonstration of the fact that we are not hypothetically interesting but very much interesting from the point of view of specific projects, specific investment," Belyakov said, adding that investors from Saudi Arabia could be interested in "infrastructural projects: transport, port, logistical, especially in the Far East and Siberia, property."
Also on Thursday, the Russian leader will meet with China’s Executive Vice Premier of the State Council Zhang Gaoli to discuss bilateral cooperation in trade, energy sectors, in the sphere of modernization of infrastructure and cooperation within such formats as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the BRICS (an acronym standing for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
Putin will also meet with Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg to discussion issues of the bilateral agenda, regional and international problems.
Apart from that, the Russian President is expected to meet with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano to discuss the development of the system of IAEA guarantees, and the Iranian nuclear programme.
The Russian president will also discuss problems of the development of small and medium-sized businesses with CEOs of Russian industrial companies.
About 70 agreements, including a number of big contracts, are expected to be signed within the framework of the forum. Thus, Venezuela’s State Oil Company PDVSA and Russia’s oil major Rosneft will sign an agreement on joint work on new projects in Venezuela. Several major agreements will also be signed to expand cooperation between the two countries and the two companies on the development of new projects in Venezuela and on the organization of training programmes for both companies’ personnel. Apart from that, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the Moscow region and Italy’s Pizzarotti are expected to sign an agreement on investing in the construction of paid roads in the region.
The programme of the forum’s first day also includes the discussion of prospects for Russian-Japanese and Russian-Indian economic cooperation, holding of events of the business forum of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), discussion of problems in relations between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and enhancing the role of the BRICS in the international financial system. Apart from that, participants in the forum will discuss the development of the nuclear energy and oil and gas sectors, the implementation of the project Silk Road Economic Belt, measures to decrease inflation, to stabilize the exchange rate and encourage economic growth.