Vladimir Padalko is the Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation and the Chairman of the Russian part of the Russian-Kazakhstan Business Council. He has been working in the system of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation since 1995. From 1996 to 2012 he headed departmental representations abroad, including East Asia. He was the member of intergovernmental commissions of Russia and Asian countries and the member of expert councils of international business organisations.
In an exclusive interview for TV BRICS, he spoke about how the expansion of BRICS, economic integration in the EAEU, SCO and other associations
would affect the business environment in Russia and the economy in general.
Let’s start with Russia’s trade turnover with the CIS, SCO and BRICS countries. It is growing strongly with China, India and Brazil. New economic records are being set. How are business conditions in the international arena changing today and how do they affect the dynamics of economic relations between states?
At the end of 2020, we felt that we had truly formed the Eurasian Economic Union. <…> The leaders of the Five countries adopted a universal declaration on the development of economies until 2030-2045. <…> We have a common energy space.
This is probably the most important thing for us, because the cost of energy resources will also determine the cost of all goods and services. And this applies not only to exports. Now, within the framework of the Five countries, we have agreed on common tariffs for energy carriers, and 90% of our payments are made in national currencies. <…>
Speaking about the barriers that exist today in trade between CIS countries, are there any such barriers, in your opinion, and what should be done to overcome them?
When at least 10 countries enter into dialogue, each country has its own national and other priorities. Therefore, of course, questions will arise. Over time, we will adjust the systems of patenting, licensing, issuing certificates and technical regulations.
This is painstaking work that cannot be completed within a short period of time. <…>
After the new countries joined BRICS, does the Chamber of Commerce and Industry expect the sharp increase in trade turnover, and what place does Russian business occupy in the markets of these new BRICS member states? How might his position change after the expansion of the association?
This is the prospect of a large market being formed in the face of all the countries joining the BRICS family. I know that about 25 countries still express their intention to join BRICS at the moment. That’s great. In recent years, trade turnover between the Russian Federation and the BRICS countries has been growing by an average of 35% annually.
In the first place, of course, China leads the way. There are now nine working groups in the BRICS Business Council. Some are involved in energy, others in transport, others in finance. In all these areas, our colleagues from the countries of the association will work out the conditions that will allow us to operate more freely in goods and services. <…> We now have very good prospects for growth in trade turnover.
Initially, the idea of a large Eurasian partnership was aimed at uniting projects and organisations such as the SCO, ASEAN, BRICS and some others. How can the interests of all parties be taken into account in this interaction?
The coronavirus pandemic has spurred us to take a fresh look at co-operation in health, medicine and the supply of each other’s medicines. We found an opportunity to sit down at the negotiating table and quickly find out where in the law there are barriers, which prevent, for example, Russian products from coming to the markets of Latin American or African countries.
In this situation, we quickly found a solution and signed an agreement to that effect. Thus, the whole world was provided with certain types of vaccines. In terms of business councils, both the SCO and BRICS have a working group that identifies points of contact.<…>
Let us return to the topic of settlements in national currencies. What is their aim in the total trade turnover between different countries now?
The share in turnover within the five EAEU countries is 90 per cent. As far as Russia’s foreign trade is concerned, we carry out more than 60 per cent of all transactions in national currencies. In BRICS, we have approached the 50 per cent milestone.
And what steps, in your opinion, can accelerate this process, stimulate it?
As an entrepreneur, my answer to this question would be: interbank co-operation and administration.
Looking ahead, which of the areas of economic co-operation will be the drivers of international trade in the coming years?
The main drivers of development will be the raw materials component, global digitalisation, as well as climate and ecology. It is on this agenda that the other areas depend: health care, product line, nutrition, agriculture.
African Times published this article in partnership with International Media Network TV BRICS.