FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 16, 2009
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
U.S.-Russia Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group Discusses Positive Role of Trade
The positive role that trade and investment play in enhancing industrial modernization, creating jobs, and improving relations between the United States and Russia highlighted discussions today between U.S. and Russian officials. U.S.-Russian trade reached record levels in 2008, when total volume topped $36 billion.
Commerce’s Acting Under Secretary for International Trade Michelle O’Neill and Russia’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development Andrey Slepnev met to consider ways of strengthening commercial relations between the two countries. The participants explored possible cooperative approaches to boosting two-way trade and investment, increasing economic and energy efficiency, modernizing industry, growing small and medium-sized businesses, and developing training programs for managers in innovative and high-technology sectors.
According to Ms. O’Neill, “the most important outcome of this meeting is that we achieved broad agreement with our Russian partners on issues our Working Group can address, and on steps for making progress on the issues we have identified.”
Deputy Minister Slepnev said that “this meeting, which was held in a climate of constructive cooperation and mutual understanding, gives us a chance to review the results of our commercial and economic relations, but also to examine concrete proposals and prospects of future directions and projects of cooperation.”
Based on recommendations by the business community, the interagency delegations also discussed the process by which each country’s business representatives obtain business travel visas and work permits, as well as customs clearance procedures, among other issues.
This meeting falls under the Working Group for Business Development and Economic Relations, which is co-chaired by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina, and is part of the Bilateral Presidential Commission that Presidents Obama and Medvedev announced at their July Summit in Moscow. Accordingly, this meeting is an important step in preparing for the next meeting between the two co-chairs, which should give a new impulse to bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade and economic development.