TRCC Seminar "Investing in Russia" in Dusit Thani Hotel

20th November 2014
H.E. Kirill Barsky, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Thailand and Dr. Sombat Thiratrakoolchai, President of the Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce
On 20th November 2014 in Dusit Thani Hotel Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce has organized the seminar "Investing in Russia" The Seminar collected about 60 participants, who are:

1. TRCC members, Top executives from all industries, governments and non-profit organizations from Thailand.

2. Potential investors
3. SMEs with potential to export
4. Entrepreneurs with potential to expand businesses to Russia
5. The general public and press and also target foreign invitees, such as the Board of Trade of Thailand, Members of the Foreign Chambers of Commerce from 7countries ( India, Turkey, Portugal, Malaysia, Pakistan, Mongolia, Myanmar) and other international partners from ASEAN countries.

The Seminar is organized by the Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce with a support of the Russian Embassy in Thailand and the Russian Trade representation in Thailand.

The objective of the Seminar is to encourage more mutual investments between Thailand and Russia. The Seminar focused on the trade relations and business prospects between the two countries.

The event was conducted in Thai and English. President of Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce Dr. Sombat Thiratrakoolchai opened the Seminar and invited to the state H.E. Kirill Barsky, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom of Thailand, who delivered his speech on the Trade cooperation between Russia and Thailand and also the important aspects on investing in Russia. The Russian Ambassador and the Trade Representative of Russia in Thailand answered a numerous question of the participants. And the next speaker Mr. Chusak Chuenprayoth, Vice Chairman Board of Trade of Thailand & CEO of KC FRESH Co., Ltd., took the floor reporting the "Case Study : Vegetables & Fruits Trade between Thailand and Russia and Ways of Money Transferring". That was not just a usual speech but a true experience of trading with the Russian partners. His relay was passed to Mr. Kriangkrai Vuttivirakulchai, the Hero of Labor of Russia, who shared his secrets of success of 10 years development of agricultural business in Russia. Finally, Prof. Sourat Rakhimbabaev, Executive Director of Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce. He took the audience' attention with exclusive information on investing in Russia and perspective areas for Asian investors.

During the panel discussion the Russian Ambassador and the Russian Trade Representative as well as the semnar's speakers answered a lot of questions of auditorium.

All participants have received the promotional materials including the CD "Investing in the Russian Federations" ( CD variant of the book "Investing if the Russian Federation" printed by the Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce, 202 pages, edition 2014)

Being inspired with a high interest of the Seminar's audience, the Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce promised to organize the next event in the beginning of 2015.
Opening remarks by H.E.Mr. Kirill Barsky, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom of Thailand, at the seminar "Investment in Russia" organized by Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce Dusit Thani Hotel, 20 November, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to address this distinguished gathering of the Thai business community assembled here today to exchange views and ideas on ways to further promote trade and investment cooperation between Russia and Thailand, to discuss current and emerging challenges that hamper bilateral relations, as well as to explore new opportunities for mutually beneficial business cooperation. At the outset I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce and all those responsible for organizing this important event.
TWhat will happen if we miss this chance? From a narrow viewpoint, not much. Existing opportunities will be sooner or later taken and gaps on our respective markets will be filled by somebody else. The title I have chosen for my opening remarks is "If We Miss This Chance". It needs explanations. By "We" I mean Russia and Thailand, our two governments, business communities and peoples. What do I mean by the word "Chance"? A unique moment in contemporary history when both Russia and Thailand are at their crossroads, when they face some difficulties and new opportunities. And "To Miss" means to fail capitalizing on these opportunities, to lose time, to take for granted what we've got as a rare chance.

But strategically speching, we would miss a great deal. We would then miss a chance to bring Russia into the picture of South East Asia. A chance for Thailand to have more balanced economic partnerships and to strengthen its position in the global and Eurasian politics and economics.

Today Thailand can get its share of the Russian agricultural market.

Thailand can get an excess to retail networks inside Russia and to export its food, textile, electronic appliances and other consumer goods directly to the Russian customers.

Thailand can guarantee its energy security and to get rid of energy dependence on neighboring countries and to overcome electricity shortage.

Thailand can diversity its sources of infrastructure development and technology transfer.

Thailand can become a key player in the tourism industry across Russia.

The market which is opening up for Thai export goods is huge. It is not only Russia but also Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia as future members of the Eurasian Economic Union to be inaugurated on January 1, 2015. It is a common market with a population of 175 million people.

Which areas of cooperation in trade and investment look most lucrative and promising?

First of all, it is food market and food industry.

We already see a steady increase in Thai food exports to Russia. But we believe that your vast experience in this field could be put to better use through direct investment into food production in the vast market of the Russian Federation. And as you probably know, we already have a successful example of such investment. I am talking about the CP Group's project, which has invested more than USD 300 million into the construction of a feed-mill and several swine farms in Moscow region. As I am informed CP Group plans further expansion of its project to other regions of the Russian Federation.

Secondly it is energy sector, including import of oil and LNG from Russia, as well as investment in oil and gas extraction; hydroenergy and construction of hydropower stations; electricity transmission; purchase of Russia produced energy-generating equipment; peaceful use of nuclear energy; exploration and utilization of alternative energy sources.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Cham-o-cha met in Myanmar on November 12. During that meeting both leaders reiterated their commitment to double the trade volume between Russia and Thailand and bring it to USD 10 billion by 2016. This manifestation of political will lays down a good basis for further rapid development of trade cooperation between Moscow and Bangkok.

Thailand is an important business partner of Russia in the Asia-Pacific region. The favorable shifts towards more intensive Russian-Thai trade and economic cooperation that have emerged in recent years have allowed Thailand to become the leader among 10 ASEAN trading partners with Russia. According to Thai statistical data in 2013, despite a slight drop from the level of 2012 our bilateral trade turnover reached almost USD 4.7 billion, with Russian exports to Thailand amounting to about USD 3.5 billion, and Thai exports to Russia - to about USD 1.2 billion. However, I believe that against the backdrop of the huge economic potential of our countries these figures are unacceptably small.

The same situation we have with mutual investments. According to Thai statistics direct investments from Russia exceeded the level of USD 100 million, while our estimation of the volume of Thai investments to Russia is close to USD 500 million. This must be changed.

Russia's experience and expertise in railway construction and operation may also prove useful taking into account Thailand's plans to expand and modernize its railway system. Russian companies would also be interested in joining some of the large-scale infrastructure projects that Thailand plans to undertake during the next several years.

Thailand's success in the development of its auto industry and auto spare parts production could be a strong motivation for investment into Russia's automobile industry, especially given the high priority accorded by the Russian Government to the development of this sector.

Of equal importance is the establishment of stable bilateral banking links to facilitate payments for goods and services delivered to each other. As I was informed a "round-table" seminar between Russian and Thai bankers is planned to be held in February next year. Such an event would definitely be an important step in the right direction.

Bearing in mind that today most of our bilateral trade and economic cooperation is centered mostly around Moscow and St. Petersburg, we believe that the establishment of direct trade and economic links with other regions of the vast territory of the Russian Federation, especially such resource-rich areas as Siberia and the Far East, could open new and untapped business opportunities to Thai traders and investors. In this respect the plans of the Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce to lead a business mission to the Far East of Russia in early 2015 are most welcome and will surely receive all necessary support from the Russian Embassy.

Russia has also much to offer in the area of bio-technology which may be highly beneficial for Thailand not only in terms of bio-fuel production, but more importantly for the future of its agriculture and food industry.

Obviously, there are many more areas of cooperation that may be developed between Thailand and Russia than those that I have just mentioned. But in order to broaden the scope of cooperation in the economic sphere considerable efforts are needed both on part of the Governments of our countries as well as the private sector.

As it was noted during the last session of the Joint Russian-Thai Commission in March 2013, with all goodwill of the Governments of both countries to promote Russian-Thai trade and economic cooperation, the real driving force behind this important sector of bilateral relations is, of course, the private sector of both countries, namely - all of you, who have gathered in this room today. Without your true interest and practical activity all decisions and efforts taken by the Governments will have little effect.

Business communities of both countries should facilitate their contacts directly in the most efficient way. And I believe that business associations of both countries, such as the Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce and as well as Thai-Russian Business Council together with its partner organization - the Russian-Thai Business Council - have a major role to play in achieving this goal. Permanent channels for exchange of market information should be created and databases on bilateral opportunities and companies seeking partners in both countries should be made available to business people.

On my part I would like to reiterate the continued support of the Russian Embassy, Russian Trade Representation as well as my personal backing for all endeavors of the Thai business community aimed at promoting friendly and mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation with Russia.

I would like to conclude my opening remarks by wishing all Thai businessmen present at today's seminar good health, prosperity and success in their business activities with Russian partners.
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