Russia-UK Economic Cooperation on the Rise: Trade Representative

The volume of trade between the UK and Russia may rise eight percent in 2019 compared to last year, to around $15 billion, the Russian Trade Representative to the UK announced at a business forum in London, according to TASS.

The growth of trade turnover between the two countries has been more rapid this year, Boris Abramov said on Wednesday, when the 5th Russian-British Business Forum (RBBF) opened at the Queen Elizabeth II Center.

“We expect the volume of trade to reach $15 billion by the end of 2019,” he stated as cited by the state-run news agency. He added that in the first nine months of this year Russia’s non-resource exports to the UK jumped 22 percent, while last year this figure stood at eight percent.

Another positive sign for boosting Russia-UK economic ties is growing bilateral investment, according to the trade official. In just one year direct Russian investment into the UK skyrocketed from $200 million to $3.8 billion.

“Despite the volatility of the global economy, markets uncertainty and Brexit we are optimistic about our business relations with Britain,” Abramov stressed.

Despite growth, the trade turnover between Russia and Britain is still relatively modest for the size of the countries’ economies. Relations between Moscow and London have been strained in recent years amid political scandals and allegations. The situation can be improved, but this will depend on the British side, says the newly appointed Russian Ambassador to the UK, Andrei Kelin.

“The change mostly depends on our partners, on their good will,” he said, adding that Russia would respond in the same way.

While government is “part of the problem,” the business community can do a better job and change the sour relations for the better, according to the chairman of InvestUK, Rupert Gather.

“It has to be led by SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] entrepreneurs…The government does have a role to play, but I think the main bridges are built by individuals,” he said.