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Western sanctions helped bolster Russia’s competitiveness on global market, says minister

The minister pointed to the term "self-sanctioning" introduced by the Western partners in the context of penalizing Russia
Russia's Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov Donat Sorokin/TASS
Russia's Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov
© Donat Sorokin/TASS

VARNA, September 17. /TASS/. Western sanctions helped Russia make a leap forward in various industrial fields, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said in an interview with Bulgaria's Trud newspaper ahead of a plenary meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Varna.

"We have stated many times that sanctions policy is counterproductive and does not contribute to the development of international trade. It’s interesting that not only restrictions are harmful, this is only the top of the 'iceberg.' Most recently, our Western partners have even introduced a special term 'self-sanctioning.' The fears and myths about Russia, possible consequences of working with our country and other speculation sometimes have an even more negative effect than those sanctions of Brussels and Washington," Manturov claimed.

"At the same time, to some extent thanks to these sanctions Russia got a historic chance to make a leap forward in many industrial fields. And this has made our products more competitive on the global market, including on the Bulgarian market," the minister pointed out.

Trade with Sofia

Moscow plans to develop trade and investment cooperation with Sofia, the Russian Industry and Trade Minister told Bulgaria's Trud newspaper. "We expect expansion of trade, both in terms of quantity and quality, at the end of this year, and plan to develop investment cooperation as well," he said, noting several examples of successful implementation of major infrastructure projects in the oil and gas sector and car manufacturing.

"We have a rich bilateral agenda for today. The leadership of Russia and Bulgaria have regular meetings, and it should be noted that there are not many countries in the world, with which we have such frequent state-to-state contacts. The active dialogue obviously influences the dynamics of bilateral trade as well. Russia is Bulgaria’s second-biggest trade partner outside the EU and the fifth-biggest — ‘in the overall standing’. Bilateral trade turnover surged to $3.5 bln last year, whereas Russia’s export to Bulgaria reached almost $3 bln, while Bulgaria’s import exceeded $500 mln," he stated.

Moscow and Sofia are developing mutually beneficial cooperation in many areas, the minister pointed out, adding that 12 field-oriented working groups operate within the framework of the intergovernmental commission.

"Since trade, economic and investment cooperation is a two-lane street, we always welcome new projects by Bulgarian partners for the creation of production facilities in Russia and are ready to offer a whole range of preferences to foreign investors, among them subsidized tax regimes and support in providing access to infrastructure. The common economic space of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) nations opens even wider opportunities for foreign companies localizing production here. That is mainly the access to a broad market of the five EAEU countries with unified rules for competition, technical regulation and other business conditions," Manturov explained.

"We are also aware of the demand for Russian pharmaceutical products on the Bulgarian market. Currently joint efforts are underway on certification of locally made products in Bulgaria. I should note that concurrently supplies of Bulgarian pharmaceutical products to Russia are on the rise as they reached the $130 mln mark in 2018," Manturov said.

Agricultural machine building is another promising growth area, the minister said, adding that Russia intends to expand the model range and increase the network of services.