U.S.-Russia Business Council President Welcomes MED Deputy Minister Andrey Slepnev and Russian Delegation

Oct 20, 2009, 10:12 ET from U.S.-Russia Business Council

Calls on Business to Work Closely With Governments to Ensure Presidential Commission's Success

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC) President Ed Verona welcomed Russian Federation Deputy Minister of Economic Development Andrey Slepnev and a delegation of Russian government officials during a business community event in Washington, DC, on Thursday, October 15. Verona noted that, "We currently have the best opportunity in a decade for engagement between our two governments in the areas that directly impact business." The event was co-hosted by the USRBC, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, Delovaya Rossiya, the Russian-American Business Cooperation Council, and other bilateral business groups.

Verona applauded Deputy Minister Slepnev and his U.S. counterpart, Acting Under Secretary for International Trade Michelle O'Neill, for leading the maiden bilateral meetings of the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group, which the business community views as a core component of the Bilateral Presidential Commission that Presidents Obama and Medvedev launched at their July summit in Moscow. RF Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabuillina and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke serve as the co-chairs of the Working Group.

"Our bilateral economic relationship has strong potential," said Verona. "A new channel of regular communications between our two governments can serve to increase understanding on commercial matters and result in the resolution of issues that directly affect business. By harnessing the expertise of our memberships and providing useful input to the U.S. and Russian governments, our private sector groups can together help 'reset' the bilateral relationship."

In his remarks, Deputy Minister Slepnev noted that a number of substantive issues were addressed in the Working Group meetings, in particular, incentives to spark technological innovations, export control regime reform, small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development, customs reform, and visa reform.

Verona announced that the USRBC would shortly convene its members in ad hoc working groups parallel to those in the Presidential Commission, and noted that the USRBC would seek to work collaboratively with other business associations in this process. "Our aim will be to ensure that the private sector's voice is heard."

The USRBC (www.usrbc.org) is a Washington-based association representing approximately 250 companies, among them some of the leading firms in the U.S., Russia and Europe. Founded in 1993, its primary mission is to promote trade and investment between the United States and Russia.

SOURCE U.S.-Russia Business Council