Sergei Katyrin: Russia Has Many to Offer ASEAN

ASEAN is a well-established integration association that has significant weight in world trade. This was stated by the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Sergei Katyrin, in his speech at the Russia-ASEAN business dialogue, held in Vladivostok on September 11 at the Eastern Economic Forum.


According to Sergei Katyrin, ASEAN is a serious association that is viewed with great interest by many countries seeking to establish a constructive dialogue with the Association. He recalled that ASEAN has existed since 1967, its countries are home to 667 million people and the Association's GDP is $3.6 trillion.


Russia has a desire to conduct a constructive dialogue with ASEAN, and we already have real achievements over the past period of interaction, and a road map for the development of cooperation is in place. In 2023, the 5th anniversary of the Russia-ASEAN strategic partnership is celebrated, S. Katyrin recalled.


“At the same time, Russia accounts for less than 1 percent of the foreign trade turnover of the ASEAN countries, and we and our colleagues in the Association countries would like these figures to change dynamically,” said Sergei Katyrin. Currently, Russia's share in the total trade balance of ASEAN countries is relatively small - 0.8% (compared to China - about 20%, the USA - 11%, or the EU - 8.3%).


The head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry emphasized: Russia has something to offer the ASEAN countries and, first of all, these are achievements in the field of digitalization. “We have something to share with colleagues from ASEAN countries, and first of all this is interaction with the population,” he said. Sergei Katyrin recalled that Russia has created a developed system of digital services between citizens and the state. There is a well-functioning system of the Federal Tax Service, we have achieved tangible success in terms of building so-called “smart cities”.


In addition to advanced technologies, there are opportunities in a broader sense, in many industries and areas of the economy. “In particular, this concerns food production and agriculture,” said S. Katyrin.


The President of the Russian Chamber named the organization of direct flights and the establishment of normal banking services as one of the most important problems in building contacts with ASEAN countries. According to him, Russia is actively moving to trade in national currencies, and last year 40 percent of foreign trade transactions were carried out in rubles. “It is possible to work in national currencies that are not affected by sanctions,” he noted.


It is important to build new transport and logistics chains, since sanctions create difficulties when servicing at seaports or when insuring cargo. According to the head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the North-South transport corridor has great prospects in the very near future.


Intercountry business dialogue in Southeast Asia should be intensified, and for this we need platforms like the one we are working on today, Katyrin said. He also recalled that in addition to the Russia-ASEAN Business Council at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a kind of “umbrella structure” for business interaction, 6 more business councils have been created that are actively working. In this regard, the head of the Chamber especially noted cooperation with countries such as Vietnam, with which a free trade agreement was signed. And such an agreement was recently signed with Indonesia, said the President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Sergei Katyrin emphasized the need to develop exhibition activities, which, according to him, are visual and allow one to effectively create business connections with colleagues. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation is promoting the topic of participation in exhibitions and we would like to see more active development of this area, said the President of the Chamber.


The discussion was attended by Igor Baylen, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Russia; Denis Butsaev, General Director, PPK Russian Ecological Operator, Nikolay Volobuev, Deputy General Director, Rostec State Corporation; Kan Zaw, Minister of Investment and External Economic Relations of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and others.


The meeting was moderated by Ivan Polyakov, Chairman of the Russia-ASEAN Business Council.


Photo: Victoria Lamzina, Roscongress Foundation