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  • Business 20 recommendations discussed at the Russian Business Week

Business 20 recommendations discussed at the Russian Business Week

Recommendations developed by the Business 20, which are to be presented to the G20 Leaders at the St.Petersburg Summit, were discussed during a series of conferences under the heading “Russian Priorities in the Business 20” within the Russian Business Week, held in Moscow on March 18-22.

March 18
Conference "Trade as a Driver of Economic Growth and Adaptation of Russian Sectors to the WTO Terms"

March 19
Panel discussion "Investment, Lending and Infrastructure: Key Elements of the Business Environment"

March 20
Conference "Job Creation, Employment, Investing in Human Capital: The Responsibility of Business and Authorities"
Conference "The Global Financial System: Global Challenges and Economic Growth"
Conference "The Role of Innovation in Developing Industry and Improving its Competitiveness"

March 22
Round table discussion "Business 20 and G20: Partnership for Growth and Employment"
Business 20 Sherpas' Meeting

* * *

On March 18, the conference "Trade as the Driver of Economic Growth and Adaptation of the Russian Economy's Sectors to the WTO Terms" was convened by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs' Committee on trade and customs policy and the WTO, with reference to the priorities of Russia's leadership in the Business 20.

Participants discussed the most pressing issues dealing with adaptation of sectors of the Russian economy to the WTO terms, as well as draft recommendations of the Business 20 Task Force, "Trade as a Growth Driver", for the G20 Leaders.

Addressing the conference, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE) and Chairman of the Business 20 Organizing Committee Alexander Shokhin, highlighted the importance of a productive dialogue between the business community and government in the sphere of trade and in other spheres designated as priorities of the Russian Presidency of the G20. He noted the need to use this dialogue to protect the interests of the Russian business and to make them more competitive at the world markets.

* * *

A panel discussion, "Investments, Lending and Infrastructure: Key Elements of the Business Environment" was held on March 19.

The discussion focused on the main challenges of the Russian investments, infrastructure constraints, and of the drawbacks of the public-private partnership.

Alexander Shokhin spoke on the two topics: international aspects related to the Business 20 priorities, and Russia's internal problems and priorities, as well as its opportunities to stimulate the investment.

Speakers also touched upon the issue of the role of public funding in communications and infrastructure. For instance, First Vice-President of the Russian Railways Alexander Misharin talked on a number of high-speed rail investment projects, which are currently under examination, while a Partner and Managing Director of the BCG in Russia Andrei Timofeyev highlighted mutual benefits of the parties of the public-private partnership for investment projects.

* * *

The conference, "Job Creation, Employment, Investing in Human Capital: The Responsibility of Business and Authorities" considered the issues of the partnership of business with trade unions and state, along with the issues of economic growth, social well-being, enhanced labour potential of the economy, and training professionals tailored to the needs of business.

Chairman of the Business 20 Task Force on Job Creation, Employment and Investment in Human Capital David Yakobashvili noted that the current employment crisis comes as the result of years of structural problems on the labor market: "Reforms should be carried out despite all the difficulties. We need them not only to overcome the current crisis, but also to address long-term challenges faced by a lot of countries."

The final and most important conclusion that resulted from the conference is that existing problems can be resolved only through joint efforts of the business community, NGOs and government authorities.

* * *

Another conference held on March 20 was devoted to the topic of "The Global Financial System: Global Challenges and Economic Growth".

The first part of the conference dealt with the Business 20's recommendations on restoring trust in the world financial system aimed to promote economic growth.

Opening the meeting, Alexander Shokhin laid out the main discussion points: "Today, with the banking problems in Cyprus threatening the stability of the entire euro zone, it is becoming clear that the G20, unfortunately, has yet to work out mechanisms for preventing global financial crises. Therefore, our main goal is to work out a strategy of balanced and sustained financial growth through a combination of competent investment policies and job creation."

Ksenia Yudayeva, Chief of the Presidential Expert Directorate and Russia's G20 Sherpa, noted in her address that finance was referred to as a traditional topic for the G20 ever since its very first Summit in Washington. "As part of its G20 presidency, Russia will work in three areas: economic growth through investments, improving confidence to bolster economic growth, and financial market regulation," Ms. Yudayeva added. "The aim of our efforts in these three areas is to return to sustained global economic growth. Today it is important to take into account the needs of both the developed and the developing markets. This requires intensifying the ongoing cooperation among the financial regulators of all countries."

During the second panel discussion, entitled "The Russian Financial System: Global Challenges and National Priorities", Alexander Murychev, Executive Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, discussed the trouble points of the Russian economy. He said that structural change in the economy was long overdue: "No new businesses are being created in the country, lending for small and medium-sized enterprises is shrinking, thereby a number of decisions is needed to diversify the economy and to create a motivation-driven, not an oil-driven, economy."

Director of the Bank of Russia's Banking Regulation Department, Vassily Pozdyshev, raised the critical problem of bankruptcies in the banking sector, stressing that nowadays it is necessary as never before to consolidate the sector, so that the lending institutions could invest their profits into the development projects, not to spend their money on other needs.

It will be recalled that draft recommendations prepared by the B20 Finance Task Force was devoted to three main topics: financial regulation, availability of long term finance, and financial infrastructure development.

During the conference the B20 Finance Task Force also held a meeting under the heading of "Restoring Confidence in the World Financial System to Ensure Economic Growth" attended by the Task Force members, the Russian G20 Sherpa, and the representatives of the international financial and expert community.

First Deputy President of VTB Bank Vassily Titov noted that recommendations for the G20 Leaders on restoring trust in the world financial system as means to promote economic growth would be finalized shortly. "I would like to note the particular importance of today's event, because it is, in fact, a dress rehearsal for the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum, which will include a Business 20 Summit," he said. "Today all the participants of the meeting had a chance to make their comments and put forward suggestions on such key issues, as financial regulation, availability of long term finance and financial infrastructure development."

* * *

The conference "The Role of Innovation in Developing Industry and Improving its Competitiveness", organized by the Business 20 Task Force, Innovation and Development as a Global Priority, was another event held on March 20, which was moderated by the Task Force Sherpa Igor Drozdov and attended, among others, by Alexander Shokhin and the RUIE Vice President and Russia's Business 20 Sherpa Oleg Preksin.

The participants raised a number of issues related to energy and information and communications technologies. Reports devoted to specific aspects of recommendations from group members were prepared for each of the topics.

During the discussion on innovations in the fuel and energy sector, the accessibility and stable supply of energy resources were identified as the key priorities.

The second part of the session was devoted to protecting intellectual property rights in the field of information and communications technologies. Experts believe that the innovations market needs a more liberal intellectual property regime, in particular, by easing the impact of patent regulation.

Regarding the Russian market of information and communications technologies, the participants emphasized the importance of commercializing the results of research and development, increasing tax benefits for certain types of research and development, and protecting the innovation system in business.

* * *

The round table discussion, "Business 20 and G20: Partnership for Growth and Employment" and the Business 20 Sherpas' Meeting were held on the last day of the Russian Business Week (March 22).

The Round table participants considered a wide range of the most pressing issues of the moment, ranging from the development of the global financial system to investing in human capital. However, the main topic was how to foster effective dialogue between the global business community and the G20.

In his welcome address, Alexander Shokhin highlighted the G20-B20 Dialogue Efficiency Task Force's goals, namely, bringing in new members; promoting greater public awareness of the Business 20 and its task forces; and forming a mechanism of interaction between the Business 20 and the G20.

The report by the G20-B20 Dialogue Efficiency Task Force's Sherpa Marina Larionova gave an overview of the progress in putting into practice the 262 recommendations put forward by business for the G20 Leaders starting from the Toronto Summit in the spheres of financial regulation, macroeconomic policy, investment practices, and trade issues.

Advisor to the Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation Assistance Committee Fabrizio Pagani elaborated on the importance of developing a mechanism of interaction between the Business 20 and the G20. The Australian B20 Sherpa Robert Milliner underscored the importance of taking into account differences of doing business in different countries.

Wrapping up the discussion, Ms. Larionova reminded that the discussions were expected to end with the adoption of the unanimously supported general guidelines. In this case, they are more likely to be accepted. All members of the Business 20 Task Forces are required to work hard to iron out any remaining disagreements. In turn, Alexander Shokhin added that the most effective recommendations for inclusion in the so-called Green Book would be selected at the end of the conference. The Green Book will be presented at the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum in June.

* * *

The final discussion of the recommendations will be held at the Business 20 Summit on June 20-21. The final version of the document will be presented to the G20 Leaders in St.Petersburg in September 2013.