Brasilia, Brazil – Andrey Guryev, CEO of PhosAgro, Chairman of the Russia-Brazil Business Council, and Second Deputy Chairman on the Russian side of the Intergovernmental Russian-Brazilian Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation — acted as Russian co-chair of the Russian-Brazilian Business Forum, held in the Brazilian capital as part of the BRICS summit.
The Business Forum was attended by Ulisses Borges, President of the Brazil-Russia Chamber in the State of Espiritu Santo, Daniel Silveira, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Brazil and Chairman of the Brazil-Russia Parliamentary Group, Odasir Zonta, member of the Russian-Brazilian Entrepreneurial Council, Gilberto Ramos, President of the Brazilian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Tourism, Renato Grazande, governor of the state of Espiritu Santo, Sergei Akopov, Russian Ambassador to Brazil, Valery Fedorov, Deputy Chairman of the Russia–Brazil Business Council, Sergei Loginov, Head of Russian Trade Representation in Brazil, and top management of various leading Russian and Brazilian public organizations and companies: RDIF, Russian Railways, Sodrugestvo, Uralkali, Rostech, Rosoboronexport, Irkut Corporation, Power Machines, En+.
Brazil is one of Russia’s most significant Latin American business partners. Over the past 5 years Russian exports to Brazil have grown by a third and mineral fertilizers were the main growth driver. Overall, Russian fertilizers now account for a third of Brazil’s imported fertilizers. The forum’s participants agreed that an economic breakthrough is needed to boost relations between the two countries.
The tone of the event was set by Ulisses Borges, President of the Brazil-Russia Chamber in the State of Espiritu Santo, who had an active role in organising and hosting the forum. As he warmly thanked all the forum’s participants, he made particular note of the mutual commitment of the business, science and the state to productive cooperation. It is this cooperation that will continue to contribute to economic, social, cultural and academic relations between the two nations.
Sergei Akopov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Federal Republic of Brazil, noted: “We are delighted that this meeting took place. We believe that this will be the first of many events that will help us to actively develop further business and partnerships between Russia and Brazil. The level of economic interaction between us is not yet in line with the real economic potential and technological capabilities of our two countries. I am sure that the results of this forum will lay the foundations for a strategy to expand the horizons of our cooperation.”
Gilberto Ramus, Chairman of the Brazil-Russia Chamber of Commerce, is convinced that the two countries’ turnover has the potential to grow at least tenfold: “Five billion is nothing compared to the overall potential of the mutually reinforcing economies of our two countries. They play a crucial strategic role in ensuring food security around the world. I would like to emphasise, in the presence of business representatives from different regions of our country, that we can easily reach USD 50 billion, and even surpass it, if Russian and Brazilian businesses join forces. I am sure that any issues that we may have can be resolved within the framework of our strategic partnership and the friendly relations between our two countries.”
Odasir Zonta, member of the Russia-Brazil Business Council and former Secretary of Agriculture of the State of Santa Catarina, in turn emphasised the need to extend the successful cooperation in agricultural to other sectors of the economy: “We know Russia not only as a reliable partner in the field of mineral fertilizers, but also as a supplier of agricultural technologies: the state of Santa Catarina, where I worked, was the first in our country to introduce Russian anti-hail technologies. We already cooperate in many areas of agriculture, but we need to move forward and spread our experience to stimulate trade between all BRIC countries. And today's forum will help us with this.”
Chairman of the Brazil-Russia Parliamentary Group, Daniel Silveira, confirmed that Russia plays an indisputable role in the growth of Brazil’s economy. “Both business and government recognise it. We are definitely interested in cooperation. Especially in the field of agriculture, technology, research and information exchange, where we will work out a coherent approach for further development,” said Mr. Silveira.
Chairman of the Russia-Brazil Business Council and CEO of PhosAgro, Andrey Guryev, noted that business and government of the two countries need to work hard together to re-energise bilateral economic relations. According to Andrey Guryev, mutual commitment to simplifying bureaucratic procedures and diversifying logistics will help to expand the range of high-quality goods from Russia, to increase trade between the countries and to facilitate income growth of the two countries’ real economies.
“Russian companies and funds take a keen interest in cooperating with Brazilian partners and are ready to take practical steps to advance their projects in the region. They count on support from the Russian-Brazilian Commission at the top level and the Russian-Brazilian Intergovernmental Commission, in particular, to overcome growth-impeding trade barriers. For example, Russian exporters face a number of problems regarding customs regulations and obtaining import licenses. Imported goods are subject to numerous federal and local taxes and duties, which result in a huge increase in prices. Development of transport logistics and the launching of more customs areas are also needed.
“To date, the range of projects considered within the framework of the Russia-Brazil Council of Entrepreneurs is quite extensive: it includes initiatives in the fields of aviation and defence, heavy and power engineering, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy, agriculture and, of course, fertilizers.
“The contribution that the mineral fertilizer industry makes to bilateral trade is facilitated by Brazil’s decision in 2014 to abolish the 6% tariff on imports of high-quality, environmentally friendly Russian-made fertilizers. Once again, I want to thank the Brazilian authorities for this mutually beneficial solution. The choice in favour of Russian fertilizers gives Brazilian farmers an additional competitive advantage: it ensures the safety of their agricultural products for consumers.
“In Russia, agricultural products that are grown with the use of environmentally friendly fertilizers and clear production procedures will be marked with the special logo of the Green Standard national brand. Together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, PhosAgro initiated the recognition of the Green Standard as a global standard of quality, and we invite our colleagues from Brazil to join the Green Club. This will put our countries at the forefront of the fight for green food and global agricultural security, as part of the effort to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“I am confident that in the near future we will be able to return to a growth in trade between our countries and give impetus to the process of technology exchange in the fields of traditional, hydro and nuclear energy, the chemical and oil and gas sectors, and increase the efficiency of our business cooperation in other areas.”