Moscow – The head of the Russia–Brazil Business Council and CEO of PhosAgro, Andrey Guryev, took part in an International Seminar on Russia–Brazil Trade and Economic Relations titled “Deepening Cooperation to Promote Growth and Development”.
Other participants in the seminar organised by the Brazilian Institute for Applied Economic Research included the Institute’s Director, Carlos von Doellinger, Brazilian Deputy Economy Minister Roberto Fendt Junior, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, Brazilian Deputy Foreign Minister Márcia Donner Abreu, Director of the Integration Development Department at the European Economic Commission Goar Barseghyan, Brazilian Deputy Foreign Minister Pedro Miguel da Costa e Silva, Russian Ambassador to Brazil Alexey Labetsky and Director of the Bilateral Cooperation Development Department at the Russian Ministry for Economic Development Alexander Dianov.
As Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov noted in his speech, Russia and Brazil have good opportunities for mutual investment and developing trade and economic cooperation.
“Over the years we have gone through various phases in the development of our trade and economic relations. We have created remarkable traditions, expanded areas of cooperation, and we have excellent prospects in our joint work in the international arena,” Mr Rybakov said.
The Deputy Foreign Minister added that “the pandemic has led to challenges and restrictions to what was previously considered normal. Now we must find a way forward in the turbulent seas of the international economy and international relations.”
Mr Ryabkov cited PhosAgro as a positive example of the expansion of cooperation between the two states amid the challenging backdrop of the pandemic.
“I would welcome it if many other companies from Russia would look for investment opportunities in order to increase added value through deeper cooperation,” said Mr Ryabkov.
The Deputy Foreign Minister added that the Russian Foreign Ministry would provide full support for Russian companies to “look at Brazil as a country of opportunities where good conditions for business and investment have been created,” and to urge their Brazilian counterparts not to downplay the extensive opportunities in Russia.
In turn, Brazil’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for bilateral relations with Asia, Oceania and Russia, Márcia Donner Abreu, noted that Russia has traditionally been one of Brazil’s 15 largest trade partners.
“We export mostly soybeans and meat and import mainly fertilizers. Russia is also a great investor in infrastructure related to the Russian export of fertilizers to Brazil in areas such as port terminals [and] storage facilities,” said Ms Donner Abreu.
According to Brazil’s Deputy Foreign Minister, trade relations between Russia and Brazil “have many exciting possibilities, which of course will depend on the adventurousness of our private sector.”
Roberto Fendt Junior, Brazil’s Special Secretary for Foreign Trade and International Relations, agreed that relations between Russia and Brazil had grown stronger in recent years, including in the areas of trade and finance.
“In the agricultural domain, there is still potential for exports of various products. I believe the economies [of both countries] could significantly profit from a free-trade agreement between MERCOSUR and Eurasian Economic Union. The Brazilian government has been making great strides towards integrating our country into the global economy. We look forward to increasing the productivity and competitiveness of our economies while simultaneously ensuring sustainable growth,” said Mr Fendt.
The head of the Russia–Brazil Business Council and CEO of PhosAgro, Andrey Guryev, noted that the Latin American market, and Brazil in particular, was one of PhosAgro’s priorities.
In 2020, PhosAgro supplied Brazil with more than 1.2 million tonnes of mineral fertilizers worth over USD 286 million. PhosAgro accounts for 21% of Russian fertilizer exports to Brazil and 14% of all Russian exports to the country.
“As Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro noted during his video message to participants at the 2021 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, our economies are part of a single agribusiness chain: Brazil’s main import from Russia is mineral fertilizers, which, as President Bolsonaro stressed, are ‘vital to agricultural production in Brazil’.” However, in addition to the traditional areas of cooperation –agribusiness, investment and defence, heavy machinery and power engineering, and steelmaking – the pharmaceutical sector has also become one of the key areas that the Russia–Brazil Business Council has been focusing on,” said Mr Guryev.
He underscored that the Russia–Brazil Business Council actively supports the activities of the RDIF, which is one of its main partners, on the issue of cooperation with Brazil in the field of vaccination.
“Together with the leadership of the RDIF, repeated talks were held with Brazilian government officials throughout 2020. This served as a strong impetus for the organization of a major campaign, which resulted in the approval of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in Brazil,” said the head of the Council.
Mr Guryev expressed hope that, by the end of the year, it would be possible to implement two landmark events: meetings of the Russian–Brazilian High-Level Commission and the Russia–Brazil Intergovernmental Commission.
“The Business Council has already received repeated offers from private and public entities in both countries to organise the next Russian–Brazilian Business Forum as part of the High-Level Commission. We intend to support this initiative,” concluded Mr Guryev.