Moscow – Andrey Guryev, the CEO of PhosAgro and Head of the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association (RFPA), has been unanimously elected as Chairman of the Russia-Brazil Business Council. He replaces VEB.RF Deputy Chairman Sergey Vasiliev, who had headed up the Council since 2009.
Established in 2004, the Council’s main objectives are the development of business contacts and the establishment of mutually beneficial cooperation between businesses in both countries, protection of the rights and legitimate interests of Russian businesses in relations with Russian and Brazilian state and commercial structures and the promotion of Russian business in the Brazilian market.
The event was attended by Georgy Petrov, an advisor to the President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Alexander Schetinin, head of the Latin America Department at Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Sergey Nosov, head of the Asia, Africa, Latin America Department at Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade; Viktor Cherepov, Executive Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs; PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev; Valery Fedorov, PhosAgro’s Deputy CEO for Government Relations; and representatives of the business community.
In response to the election of the CEO of PhosAgro, one of the world's largest fertilizer producers, as the head of the Russia-Brazil Business Council, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Georgy Petrov said: “Fertilizers are Russia’s main export product to Brazil. I would like to note that Andrey Guryev is actively engaged in issues of international cooperation and in achieving one of the strategic objectives for the Russian economy: increasing non-energy, non-resource-based exports. Fertilizers are an important component of such high-tech exports.”
Although Brazil has been and remains a strategic partner for Russia and Russia’s leading trade partner in the region, Alexander Schetinin from the Foreign Ministry’s Latin America Department, noted that the country “is going through difficult times, a process of defining its political agenda, adjusting its economic strategy and searching for a new frame of reference.”
“In this regard, the Business Council has a particularly important role, its perseverance, its initiative, its ability to find the right words and arguments. Andrey Guryev now heads up two business councils – with both Brazil and Argentina. We hope that the close cooperation that Andrey Guryev’s Argentina team has already established extend to work with the Russia-Brazil Business Council as well,” said A. Schetinin.
In welcoming Guryev’s election to his new post, Sergey Nosov, head of the Asia, Africa, Latin America Department at Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, recalled the successful history of interaction between his department and PhosAgro: “It’s important for us that Andrey Guryev is the person to head up the Russia-Brazil Business Council, since we already have experience working together in the framework of the Russia-Argentina Business Council. In addition, our department has contact with PhosAgro on a regular basis in other regions and countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, in terms of promoting large projects and addressing issues of market access.”
S. Nosov added that the Russia-Brazil Business Council would occupy a significant place in the triad of existing bilateral cooperation formats, including the High-Level Commission and the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic and Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
Victor Cherepov, Executive Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, which is actively engaged with Brazil, said the Union was “always ready to add industry-related issues to the agenda”. He expressed the hope that “strengthening the Council with the election of Andrey Guryev would make it possible to build a streamlined system for interaction” between the Business Council and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
PhosAgro CEO and RFPA President Andrey Guryev thanked the meeting participants for their confidence, adding that, during the decade of Sergei Vasiliev’s chairmanship, the Council became an effective tool for business partnership between Russian and Brazilian companies and played a significant role in increasing trade between the two countries.
Andrey Guryev noted that, as the head of the RFPA and the CEO of PhosAgro, he understands the economic situation in Brazil and the specifics of the entire Latin American market, in terms of both the advantages and the problems that Russian and other foreign companies face and that need to be overcome.
Mineral fertilizers that are highly efficient and safe for human health and the environment accounted for the majority (over 71%) of all Russian exports to Brazil in 2018. PhosAgro alone, which has had a subsidiary in São Paulo since 2015, supplied Brazil with fertilizers worth more than USD 400 million last year, which represented 16% of all Russian exports.
In addition, he drew on his expertise on this issue stemming from his work as Deputy Chairman of the Russia-Brazil Business Council (since 2015) and as the head of the Russia-Argentina Business Council (since 2017).
“Through joint efforts with federal authorities, intergovernmental commissions on trade, economic and scientific and technical cooperation, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, we managed to strengthen the position of Russian mineral fertilizer producers in Argentina and Brazil, where a 6% import duty on environmentally friendly and high-quality Russian phosphate fertilizers was abolished several years ago,” said Guryev, adding that he would be happy to have an opportunity to use his experience and knowledge in protecting the interests of Russian exporters from other sectors.
“We will make every effort to further improve the impact of the Council’s work on a wide range of issues on the bilateral economic agenda and in addressing current challenges facing Russian companies in the Brazilian market.
“I am convinced that, by working together, we will have further success in expanding access for Russian companies to the Brazilian market, which will reduce the cost of high-quality and highly competitive Russian products for the end consumer in Brazil.
“I am confident that we will be able to buttress the trend that has seen an increase in trade between our countries and to invigorate the process of technology exchange in the fields of traditional, hydro and nuclear energy, the chemical and oil and gas industries, and improving business cooperation in other areas,” said Guryev.
Tatyana Mashkova, Director General of SESLA NC, and Valery Fedorov, PhosAgro’s Deputy CEO for Government Relations, were elected Deputy Chairpersons of the Russia-Brazil Business Council. Valery Fedorov was also appointed the Council’s Executive Director.