VEB.RF and Russian Trade Company in China (RTC, a subsidiary of VEB Asia Limited and Russian Export Center) organised a round-table discussion on 28 June about the prospects of increasing the Russian exports to China. The discussion was centered on the joint report by VEB and RTC entitled From Minor Flourishing to Economic Self-Sufficiency: Industrial Priorities of the 14th Five-Year Plan and Opportunities for Russia. The authors analysed the new five-year plan of China’s development adopted in March 2021 and specified high potential industries that may be worthwhile for Russian exporters.
According to the authors, the leitmotif of the new five-year plan is China’s commitment to economic self-sufficiency and import substitution in key industrial sectors and fundamental technology. “China’s striving for technological and economic self-sufficiency defined in the 14th five-year plan is directly attributable to the deteriorating political situation, enhanced range of China’s industry infrastructure, latest trade wars and the pandemic, along with China’s solid middle class with good purchasing power,” the report authors noted.
“Developing country expertise is critical for a company operating abroad and serving as ‘a window on the real world’ for a large number of exporters,” VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board Daniil Algulian noted in his opening remarks. “We highly appreciate RTC’s report. VEB.RF Group’s key goal is to increase Russian non-resource exports as instructed by the Russian Government and specified in VEB.RF’s strategy, and understanding the trends on the Chinese market most important for Russian exporters will help to achieve it”.
Most promising sectors specified in the report include manufacturing electric and self-driving cars, robotics, renewable energy, and production of new materials and composite materials. Russian traditional exports should be enhanced to include these areas apart from oil and gas, timber, agriculture and food production sectors where most significant progress has been made recently.
Among the speakers was Russian trade commissioner in China Alexey Dakhnovsky who confirmed the necessity of export diversification, while noting that trade ties between the two countries have been actively developing lately, especially during the pandemic. “According to Chinese customs statistics, the quarter-on-quarter growth rate was 23.6% in the first quarter of 2021, bilateral trade stood at 50.7 billion US dollars, while the Russian exports and imports reached 27.7 billion US dollars and 22.9 billion USD dollars respectively,” he said.
The participants also discussed the importance of encouraging payments in national currencies. According to the Russian embassy in China, payments in national currencies between the Russian Federation and PRC reached 25% in 2020. Chairman of RTC’s Board of Directors Artyom Sharov said that an increasing number of Chinese and Russian companies are switching over to settlements in national currencies. “We have opened an account with Shanghai branch of VTB Bank, accounts with Chinese banks, conducted several rouble-denominated transactions, and we intend to expand the settlement opportunities,” Artyom Sharov said.
The round table discussion also involved Chairman of the Management Board of Eximbank of Russia Azer Talybov, First Deputy Head of Russian Railways’ Centre for Corporate Transportation Services Alexander Khatianov, and Deputy Director of EEC’s Trade Policy Department Nurgul Aitbayeva. The event hosted more than 170 guests and was held at VEB.RF’s new venue Urban Laboratories.
VEB.RF Provides First Tranche to Finance Supply of Russian High-Technology Equipment to Uzbekistan
The first RUB330mn tranche was transferred to Almalyk MMC to finance export contracts with Mining Engineering, NPGM and Elektromash.
VEB.RF began financing the supply of Russian mining machinery to Uzbekistan under the large-scale programme to modernise one of Uzbekistan’s largest mining and smelting companies.
VEB.RF and Almalyk MMC signed a RUB1.8bn facility agreement in November 2020.
Daniil Algulyan, Deputy Chairman of VEB.RF:
“This is the second transaction financed by VEB.RF as part of a comprehensive modernisation of Almalyk MMC. VEB.RF had previously fully financed the supply of BelAZ 220-tonne haul trucks, with Russian components exceeding 30 percent.”
VEB.RF and Eximbank of Russia Provide Financing for Supply of Municipal Vehicles to Tashkent
VEB.RF and Eximbank of Russia have provided the first tranche in the amount of around RUB677mn to finance the supply of Russian municipal vehicles.
The vehicles will be supplied to Uzavtodor (Uzbekistan Highways under the Committee for Motorways of the Republic of Uzbekistan), Tashkent’s Chief Land Improvement Department, and other municipally funded institutions of Uzbekistan.
Daniil Algulyan, Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board, VEB.RF:
“VEB.RF and Eximbank of Russia have provided financing in roubles for a pilot project in Uzbekistan. This is an important step to fulfil VEB.RF’s objective to use national currencies to fund export projects.”
Tatyana Sakharova, Deputy Chaiperson of the Board, Eximbank of Russia:
“We see good prospects for joint projects between VEB.RF and the National Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan to finance the supply of high-technology equipment to Uzbekistan. We hope that our partnership will make it possible to expand Russian exports and to develop relations and trade between Russian and Uzbek companies.
In September 2020, VEB.RF’s management and the National Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Foreign Economic Activity in principle agreed to finance the supply of Russian manufactured municipal vehicles and special equipment to Uzbekistan during the Russian business mission to Uzbekistan. In December 2020, VEB.RF and Eximbank of Russia entered into respective loan facilities with the National Bank of Uzbekistan.
The vehicles will be supplied by Russian manufacturers: KAMAZ, Merkator Kaluga, Kominvest-AKMT, and Kurgandormash. Most of the supplied vehicles are based on KAMAZ chassis and Russian manufactured auxiliary equipment.
VEB.RF is Ready to Become One-stop Solution for International Development Banks to Consider Infrastructural Projects in Russia
“Improved coordination and interaction among development institutions will facilitate development and boost potential of development banks not only in Russia, but also in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Russian Ministry of Finance is ready to coordinate this effort,” Pavel Snisorenko, Director of the Department for International Financial Relations, Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, said during the session “Multilateral Development Banks in the Post-COVID Era: Old Challenges and New Opportunities” at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2021.
“We have many instruments in our arsenal to facilitate the implementation of development projects. We are ready to employ them. Namely, we can provide bilateral and technical assistance to other countries etc.,” Pavel Snisorenko said.
The round table participants discussed the role of development banks in today’s world, their challenges and optimal ways to tackle them.
“Development requires unlimited resources, this why every dollar contributed to a development bank should be used as efficiently as possible for the sake of development,” Pavel Snisorenko said.
The pandemic helped the banks to embrace ESG agenda faster, to pay much more attention to the development of human capital, and balance coexistence of human beings and the environment.
Svetlana Yachevskaya, Deputy Chairperson and Member of the Management Board, VEB.RF:
“VEB.RF’s expertise and role on the Russian infrastructure market make it possible for us to become a one-stop solution for international development banks to consider investments into Russian projects. We have all the resources and competencies to evaluate project’s consistency with the mandates of MDBs and the highest international quality standards, and their eligibility for various support instruments. This joint effort made it possible to harmonise best approaches of Russian and multilateral development banks, to share the best practices with the Eurasian Economic Union, which will enable sustainable infrastructure development in this major and dynamic region.”
The panel discussion was attended by representatives of the World Bank, the New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, the International Bank for Economic Co-operation, VEB.RF, VTB Infrastructure Holding, Expert RA, and KMPG.
The Russian Federation is a stakeholder in the following MDBs: institutions of the World Bank Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, the International Bank for Economic Co-operation, and the Interstate Bank with the total stated capital over USD750bn.
VEB.RF and Government of the Chelyabinsk Region Launch SIB to Support Intellectually Disabled People
The Chelyabinsk Region has become one of the pioneers to launch a social impact bond (SIB) in the area of assisted living for people with mental health disabilities. The SIB’s concept is approved by State Development Corporation VEB.RF that has traditionally been the operator for such projects. The respective agreement was signed at the SPIEF-2021 by Irina Butorina, Minister for Social Relations of the Chelyabinsk Region, and Mikhail Alashkevich, Managing Director of VEB.RF’s Government Agent Office.
The project aims to help mentally impaired local residents to become equal members of society. In the next two years, experts will assist 24 local residents in vocational training, finding a job, and improving their quality of life. The main goal of participants to the SIB is to never return to living in neuropsychiatric establishments. Eight participants will receive vocational training at home supported by their families. The other 16 participants who are patients of care homes will live in groups in specially selected apartments. The SIB’s participants will attend educational workshops.
The project will be implemented by Family+, a charitable foundation for disadvantaged families and kids. In the last two years, the foundation launched an assistance living programme for mentally impaired people. Participants to the programme learn how to switch from living in a care home to an apartment. The project will teach independence to the young participants who will be guided by mentors.
Svetlana Yachevskaya, Deputy Chairperson and Member of the Management Board, VEB.RF:
“Our task is to drastically increase the quality of life for these people, to give them an opportunity to socialise, to learn a profession or a craft, to lead a socialised life, to become independent. The main task is not to let the participants to this SIB end up in neuropsychiatric establishments again.”
VEB.RF will operate the project and assist the stakeholders throughout its implementation. Preparation is under way. First 16 participants to the SIB will move into new apartments from 1 October 2021. At this stage, social workers will be also selected.
“This innovative social impact bond will become one the main tools for the region to replace hospitals with homecare. Which will significantly improve the quality of life for mentally disabled and will make it possible for them to become equal members of society,” Irina Butorina, Minister for Social Relations of the Chelyabinsk Region, said. The Chelyabinsk Region has nine neuropsychiatric establishments for adults and three for children. These establishments have around 3,500 in-patients in total. Of course, we understand that not all of them are eligible for assisted living, but certain patients have potential to lead a socialised life if supported by social services and non-governmental development institutions.”
The project received support from Russian Copper Company, which contributed RUB31mn. The funds will be channelled into accommodation and support to social workers which will assist people with mental health disabilities.
This the second Russian SIB in the area of assisted living, the first one was launched in Yakutia last April.