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Press review: St. Petersburg Economic Forum's kick-off and EAEU-India free trade talks

June 01, 13:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Top stories in the Russian press on Thursday, June 1

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© Artiom Korotaev/TASS

Izvestia: Russia to become global energy leader by 2067

Experts forecast that the United States will become the world’s major energy resources producer in 15 years, Izvestia writes on Thursday. Russia is set to become the global energy leader in 50 years and China will gain the lead in 100 years, according to research carried out by the founding members of the Global Energy Prize with participation of more than 50 scientists from across the globe. The researchers estimate that Russia will not only supply oil and gas, but will also actively develop new technologies, in particular in the area of wind, water and solar energy.  
Specialists interviewed by Izvestia say Russia is projected to take the top spot among energy producers due to huge gas reserves and rising supplies of hydrocarbons to Asia, as well as new technologies, which will be cheaper and more efficient. The prestigious Global Energy Prize for recognizing outstanding achievements in energy is awarded to the world’s leading scientists by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). 

The US can make a breakthrough in the coming 10 years in supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, the export of other energy resources, in particular, oil, is impossible without carrying out reforms and their prospect remains unclear at present, said Anna Kokoreva, a leading analyst at the Alpari group. 
“There is no doubt about Russia’s leadership. Even today, Russia is the leader on the European market of traditional gas and the largest global supplier of oil and petrochemicals. The country is also actively focusing on Asia,” the analyst noted. However, as far as the LNG market goes, Russia has taken a back seat. It may supply gas to India from deposits in Western Siberia, but there are some obstacles hindering this project, Kokoreva said. “If the project is fulfilled, Russia will significantly boost supplies to the Asian region and it may be really called a global leader in supplying energy resources,” she stressed. 
On the other hand, IFC Markets analyst, Dmitry Lukashov, doubts that the US may gain the lead in energy supplies. “US oil production reached 9.3 mln barrels per day with great difficulty. This even required carrying out a “shale revolution.” At the same time, US domestic oil consumption amounts to slightly less than 20 mln barrels per day, and the country is the world’s major net importer of oil,” he explained. 

 

Kommersant: Moscow opposes leading nominee for OSCE chief 

In late June, the term of current Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Lamberto Zannier is scheduled to expire. There are five candidates lined up to replace him, but the frontrunners are Deputy Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Thomas Greminger and former European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule, Kommersant writes, citing sources. The winner will be selected based on a consensus among the OSCE member-states. 

Diplomats working in the OSCE, interviewed by the paper, say that the Swiss candidate, who led the OSCE’s Permanent Council during Switzerland’s chairmanship in the organization in 2014, has better chances. Moscow also tends to back Greminger rather than Fule. “The Swiss candidate is much more preferable,” one of the sources told the paper. 
“Moscow considers Fule as one of architects of Kiev’s Maidan (riots) and that’s why his candidacy as the OSCE’s chief is unacceptable for Russia,” head of the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center Alexander Gabuyev said. 
The selection to the post of OSCE chief is made by a consensus and Moscow may stonewall his appointment. If no agreement on a candidate is reached by June 30, Zannier’s term may be extended for another six months and consultations will continue, the paper says.

 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Pentagon secretly filters through extra THAAD to South Korea 

The US successfully shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean in an ICBM intercept test. This is widely seen as a step to counter any threat from North Korea. Amid the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, a major scandal has rocked South Korea because the military kept the new President Moon Jae-in in the dark about the fact that the Americans had deployed four additional THAAD anti-missile launchers, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.  

The new South Korean leader said he was shocked by the move and issued an order to investigate the country’s Defense Ministry officials, who had apparently concealed the fact that six rather than two anti-missile launchers were deployed.  During his election campaign, Moon Jae-in, who won the election on May 9, called on the parliament to review the deal with Washington.  
Head of the Department of Korea and Mongolia at the Institute of Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Vorontsov noted that the administration of the impeached President Park Geun-hye had made hasty efforts to step up the deployment of the missile defense system. “They wanted to confront the new president with an accomplished fact. This reminds me of the situation in the United States when the Obama administration wanted the incoming president to face a crisis in Russian-US relations,” Vorontsov pointed out. The scandal allows the South Korean leader to carry out a probe based on various intelligence sources, not only those of the US.  “In any case, South Korea believes it is obvious that the US system cannot protect Seoul,” he noted.

 

RBC: 21st annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum kicks off

Russia’s major economic event, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, kicks off in the country’s second-largest city on Thursday. Some 8,000 participants will listen to a discussion on Russian reforms, a speech by President Vladimir Putin and the first in the past three years Russia-US business dialogue, RBC writes. The forum will be devoted to "searching for a new balance in global economy."

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Austria’s Federal Chancellor Christian Kern and Moldova’s President Igor Dodon will take part in the forum, which will be moderated by renowned NBC anchor Megyn Kelly, who clashed with Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential election campaign.

"I don’t think that during the forum we will hear any breakthrough decisions. Taking into consideration that the president supports evolutionary development, no groundbreaking statements should be expected," said President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergey Katyrin.

The US delegation, consisting of 369 people, will be the largest one at the event. India’s business delegation will have 59 members, while Germany, Russia’s key partner in Europe, and China, Moscow’s major partner in Asia, will send 147 and 76 delegates, respectively. Among the representatives of US businesses at the SPIEF will be ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods, Boeing International President Bertrand-Marc Allen and Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby.

The forum’s agenda includes Russia’s business dialogues with France, Japan and Italy. Seven of Russia’s top ten richest people according to Forbes will be attending the event.

 

Kommersant: EAEU to launch talks on free trade with India

The Eurasian Economic Union and India are due to sign a joint statement on June 3 to launch negotiations on setting up a free trade zone, Kommersant writes. The deal is expected to boost exports of raw materials, grain, fertilizers, chemicals and equipment to India. New Delhi may increase exports of pharmaceuticals. Currently, the EAEU’s trade with India accounts for less than 2%, while major obstacles in accessing the market are due to non-tariff restrictions, the paper says.

The document, outlining key goals for Eurasian-Indian free trade, will be signed by the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Minister of Trade, Veronika Nikishina, and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman. The sides "have already started working out coordinated decisions on the deal’s details, which all countries of the EAEU want to see," and simultaneously expert-level consultations with Indian partners will be held, the Eurasian Economic Commission said.

The talks will be devoted not only to reducing duties, but to the issues of protecting intellectual property rights, carrying out state purchases, customs, cooperation in technical regulation, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

Nikishina said the problems with going through administrative procedures and certification on the Indian market may be a more serious barrier than paying customs duties, and that’s why the agreement will include provisions on restrictive measures complicating access to the market, she said.

Russian companies could increase the volume of exporting services, especially in the electricity industry and metallurgy, deputy head of Sectoral Analysis and Strategy Development Department at the Eurasian Development Bank Arman Ahunbayev said. "There is great growth potential for supplies of oil and gas, coal, natural diamonds, certain types of equipment, including energy, ore mining and railways, as well as chemical products, fertilizers and agricultural goods," the expert said.

 

TASS is not responsible for the material quoted in the press reviews

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