Catherine forum wants to mediate trading partners with russia

catherine forum wants to mediate trading partners with russia

Saxony-anhalt as a point of connection between germany and russia: at its upcoming dialogue in zerbst/anhalt, the katharina forum wants to raise awareness of the challenges posed by the existing economic sanctions and open up new perspectives.

"Russia is an important trading partner for saxony-anhalt, especially in terms of imports," the state chancellery in magdeburg announced before the start of the meeting (30. September to 1. October) the german press agency with.

Many small and medium-sized enterprises had close ties with russia. For these, however, the existing mutual sanctions could be a problem, it continued. Business representatives from both countries also want to talk about renewable energies, digital transformation and agriculture at a "speed dating" event in zerbst.

"The aim is to establish contacts for future business and thus give new impetus to the long tradition of german-russian relations," the ministry of economics of saxony-anhalt announced. The authority is organizing the forum together with the city of zerbst. The katharina forum, which is being held for the second time, is to be established as a permanent format. The name is given to the russian czarina katharina II. "The rough one" (1729-1796), who grew up as a princess in zerbst.

"Although political relations remain difficult and tense, the german economy has maintained its position as a stable bridge between our two important countries," announced matthias schepp, chairman of the board of the german-russian auben chamber of commerce (AHK) in moscow. Despite all the difficulties, russia is much better than its reputation as an investment location. An economic "tying up" of the two countries would be profitable for all. However, the sanctions kept many german companies from investing in russian business.

The european union had decided to impose economic sanctions against russia because of russia’s annexation of the ukrainian peninsula of crimea and after the shooting down of a passenger plane over ukraine in july 2014. The sanctions were only recently extended again. Moscow, for its part, has reacted by imposing sanctions against the EU.

The punitive measures have hurt the east german economy in particular. Between 2013 and 2018, for example, the volume of german-russian trade in saxony-anhalt fell by 24.0 percent, as the committee on eastern european economic relations reported in mid-july. The national average is minus 19.7 percent.

In 2018, companies from saxony-anhalt exported goods worth 315 million euros to russia, according to the ministry of economics. In the record year of 2012, this figure was around 503.4 million euros. Essentially, these were pharmaceutical and chemical products, plastics, vehicle components, paper products and machinery. The share of saxony-anhalt’s total exports was 1.93 percent.

In the export ranking, the russian market has occupied a rather subordinate position since the 1990s (2018: position 15). In terms of imports, however, russia is in first place by a wide margin: in 2018, mainly petroleum and natural gas were imported, totaling good goods worth 4.9 billion euros. The share of saxony-anhalt’s total imports was thus 25.89 percent in 2018.

Not all good exchanged between germany and russia is subject to sanctions. According to the business community, a flourishing exchange in both directions could help to deepen the business relationship. "There will certainly be no quick fixes, but there will be a gradual approach," was the comment from the state chancellery in magdeburg. Russia’s return of voting rights in the council of europe in june was a first step in this direction.

The meeting will be opened on sunday evening with a reception. Among others, the envoy of the russian embassy, andrei sobolev, the head of the german representative office of the russian chamber of commerce and industry, sergej nikitin, delegations from the russian regions of omsk and uljanowsk as well as start-ups and companies from russia and saxony-anhalt are expected to attend the event. The patron is saxony-anhalt’s minister-president reiner haseloff (CDU).


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