SelectUSA Investment Forum at Spaso House
On November 13, 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow hosted a SelectUSA Investment Forum at the Ambassador's residence, Spaso House. Approximately 100 senior Russian business executives attended the event, including many members of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists, a key partner of the event.
SelectUSA (www.SelectUSA.gov), housed in the Department of Commerce, coordinates investment-related resources across U.S. federal agencies and is the single point of contact at the national level to help international and domestic firms grow and invest in the U.S. Russia is a priority country for SelectUSA investment attraction activities.
Investment promotion is a key element of the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group (BDERWG), and Commerce Assistant Secretary Camuñez, the U.S. Coordinator for BDERWG, was a keynote speaker at the event. The forum also featured remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, and a panel of tax, legal, and banking experts who discussed investing in the U.S.
The main business forum was preceded by a private lunch with major Russian industrialists hosted by Ambassador McFaul and Assistant Secretary Camuñez. Attendees included senior executives from LUKOIL, GAZ Group, Mechel Mining, ESN Group, Siberian Coal Energy Company, TMK Group, Magnitogorsk Steel Plant, EuroChem and others.
BDERWG Co-coordinators Meeting
On November 12, Commerce Assistant Secretary Michael Camuñez, the new BDERWG co-coordinator for the United States government, met with his Russian counterpart, Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexey Likhachev. The participants discussed the proposed 2013 – 2014 BDERWG workplan, which focuses on facilitating trade and expanding two-way investment, and promoting joint efforts to improve the Russian business climate and leverage Russia’s WTO accession for mutual benefit.
Business and Trade Mission Supports Expansion of Two-Way Trade
Embassy Moscow’s Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) recruited and led a business delegation of seven Russian importers and buyers interested in packaging equipment to Pack Expo in Chicago from October 26 – 31, 2012. The Russian companies had matchmaking appointments with U.S. companies exhibiting at the expo. FCS Moscow conducted one-on-one meetings with U.S. exhibitors interested in exporting to or expanding their presence in the Russian market.
Sociology Professor Shares U.S. Experience on Global Entrepreneurship
The eminent University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professor of sociology, Ivan Light, visited St. Petersburg November 5 – 9 and spoke with faculty and students at several of St. Petersburg's most prestigious universities, including the Higher School of Economics, the European University, Smolny College of the St. Petersburg State University, and the University of Economics and Finance.
Professor Light's many publications are quite well known in Russian academic and business circles. Audiences eagerly listened to his presentations on topics such as “middleman minorities in business structures,” “mobilizing and swapping resources for entrepreneurship: theory and practice,” and “global entrepreneurship and transnationalism.”
Professor Light gave an interview with the weekly magazine “Gorod 812,” focused on comparisons and contrasts between Russian and American approaches to business ethics and globalization
Mini-Tourism Trade Show
On September 4, the U.S. Embassy organized the official opening of “American Week,” an annual celebration produced by the Visit USA Russia committee, a partnership of private travel industry firms. The event is aimed at educating local travel agents on prospective U.S. travel for Russian tourists. “America Week” highlights U.S. travel destinations, available flights, hotels, attractions and more.
The occasion was also used to announce an historic new visa agreement between Russia and the U.S. that introduces new, simplified U.S. visa procedures and extended, three-year visas for Russian travelers to the U.S., which came into force on September 9, 2012. The announcement of this agreement was made by U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who was joined by Embassy Consular and Commercial colleagues for a press conference with Russian media representatives attending the event.
On September 17, CRDF Global (formerly the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation ) launched the first phase of the Commercialization Pathfinder series – an on-line “Train-the-Trainer” session for 29 technology transfer professionals from several universities (Kazan Tech State, Altay Tech State, The National Research University, and the Higher School of Economics), the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Applied Physics, Rosnano, SkolTech and a regional innovation agency of Kaluga. The subsequent “Entrepreneurship Development” phase for a group of 200 scientists, university students and faculty will start at the end of October. All of the 29 participants of the current Train-the-Trainer session will be engaged as mentors during the subsequent Entrepreneurship Development session.
Business Networking at Spaso House
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service in Moscow held its annual business networking reception on September 27 at the Ambassador’s Residence, Spaso House. Ambassador McFaul and Senior Commercial Officer McCaslin gave remarks to the approximately 300 guests on the importance of bilateral trade. They provided examples of successful trade promotion events in Russia and the U.S. this past year, while noting that increasing the stakes we have in each other's economic prosperity adds ballast to the overall U.S. – Russia relationship.
Strong Russian Presence at 2012 MINExpo
Russia's mining industry, which comprises 30% of the country's GDP, is a leading sector for U.S. trade and investment and there is strong demand for U.S. mining equipment and technology. Russia had its largest showing ever at the MINExpo 2012 in Las Vegas, NV September 24 – 26. More than 180 Russians participated as official International Buyer Program (IBP) delegates to the quadrennial exhibition presenting the latest mining industry technologies. Chelyabinsk Region Governor Mikhail Yurevich led the Russian delegation, and was the special guest of honor at a dinner hosted by the U.S. – Russia Business Council on September 25.
Russian-American Pacific Partnerhip in Tacoma, WA – Supporting Business Ties Between the U.S. West Coast and the Russian Far East
With support from the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group, on September 19-20, Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia Matthew Murray and Ministry of Economic Development Deputy Director of the Americas Dmitry Sazhin co-chaired the 17th annual meeting of the Russian-American Pacific Partnerhip in Tacoma, Washington. The meeting addressed trade between the U.S. West Coast and the Russia Far East, and included discussion of air and maritime transportation developments to facilitate trade.
U.S. Bankers Discuss Small Business Lending in Moscow and Sochi
As part of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Sub-Working group under Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group, the Small Business Administration (SBA) facilitated the visit of two U.S. private bankers to Russia to discuss small business lending from September 3-7. Julie Huston, President of the SBA Division of U.S. Bank, and Richard Bradshaw, Senior Vice President at TD Bank, gave detailed presentations on SBA’s loan guarantee program to Vnesheconombank, SME Bank, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Association of Regional Banks, and the Russian Non-Governmental Organization for Small and Medium Entrepreneurship (OPORA). They later took part in the Sochi International Banking Forum, speaking at a roundtable on International Experience in SME Financing.
Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) Program Hosts Seminar on Corporate Leadership Ethics for Alumni
Past participants of the SABIT program joined leaders of small and medium enterprises in St. Petersburg, Russia on August 2 for a seminar on corporate leadership ethics. Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez gave opening remarks at the reception were he congratulated a Russian entrepreneur who attributes the success of his glass-testing business to the knowledge and experience he gained during his SABIT Program Internship. Over the last twenty years, this U.S. Department of Commerce program has offered industry specific and technical training to over 5,000 to mid-to-senior professionals and business leaders.
Small and Medium Size Business Leaders Meet in St. Petersburg
From August 1-3, Dario Gomez, Assistant Administrator of the Small Business Association (SBA), and U.S. Chair of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Sub-Working Group, participated in the APEC SME Ministerial in St. Petersburg along with Undersecretary of Commerce Francisco Sanchez. During the Ministerial, he shared SBA’s best practices for fostering the development of SMEs in the United States. Dario also met with his counterpart, Natalia Larionova, head of SME Department of the Ministry of Economic Development, to discuss next steps in bilateral cooperation and other ways the Sub-Working Group can cooperate in furthering the development of the SME Sector in Russia.
U.S. and Russian Customs and Trade Officials Meet
On July 26, the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group hosted a meeting between Russian Embassy officials and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials to discuss CBP’s Container Security Initiative. Additionally, staff from the Russian Trade Representative and the Department of Commerce met to discuss implementation of the BDERWG’s 2012 Work Plan and cooperation on trade missions in both directions.
Energy Efficiency Trade Mission Visits Moscow and St. Petersburg
Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez led an energy efficiency trade mission to Russia, June 4-7. The U.S. delegation included representatives from 12 U.S. firms that offer a broad range of technologies to improve energy efficiency. The trade mission was a joint program of the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Energy. The itinerary included a market briefing, site tour and one-on-one business meetings in Moscow and St. Petersburg. U.S. companies met with Russian officials at the federal and municipal levels and private industry. Improving energy efficiency is a priority of the Russian government and greater opportunities for U.S. companies are expected as Russia implements new energy efficiency policies.
U.S. Business Executives Visit the Urals
The U.S. Department of Commerce Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) program delivered the second part of the Presidential Management Training Exchange Program (PMT), sending four U.S. businesspeople to Yekaterinburg from June 17-July 1. The program, “Specifics of Doing Business in Russia,” was conducted by the Business School of Urals Federal University. The agenda included round tables with officials, workshops with the local business community, visits to joint ventures, individual meetings with Yekaterinburg companies, visits to trade shows, lectures on doing business in Russia, as well as business cases studies, assignments and team work. The June program in Russia followed the first phase of the PMT program which took place in the United States in fall 2011, when SABIT hosted two delegations of Russian professionals in the information technology and energy efficiency sectors for three weeks.
Forum Provides Platform for Further Trade and Investment
Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance Michael Camunez met with senior Russian officials and Russian and U.S. business leaders during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum to advance a bilateral trade and investment agenda, including through SelectUSA, a Foreign Direct Investment Initiative within the Commerce Department.
U.S. Department of Commerce Leads an Automotive Trade Mission to Russia
U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Michelle O’Neill led a delegation of 12 American companies on an automotive parts and components trade mission to Russia, April 22-28. Representatives from U.S. auto parts manufacturers visited Moscow, Samara, and St. Petersburg. Participating firms gained market insights, made industry contacts, solidified business strategies, and advanced specific projects with the goal of increasing U.S. exports to Russia. The mission included more than 100 one-on-one business appointments with potential buyers, agents, distributors, and joint venture partners; meetings with regional government officials; and networking events.
Business Development and Economic Relations WG Co-Coordinators Meet
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Michelle O’Neill and Deputy Minister of Economic Development Aleksey Likhachev met on April 24 to further the agenda of the Commission’s Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group. Likhachev, who recently became the Working Group’s Russian co-coordinator, highlighted Russia’s priorities for small and medium enterprise development and improving the Russian trade and investment climate. O’Neill supported those goals, noting several U.S. business development trade missions to Russia (in the automotive, energy efficiency, and healthcare sectors) focused on increasing U.S. exports and establishing greater business ties with Russia. Likhachev highlighted that the Russian government has numerous business missions planned for the United States focused on medical technology and pharmaceuticals, eco-tourism, and chemicals.
Yekaterinburg CG travels to Tyumen Oblast
From February 12-16, Yekaterinburg’s Consul General traveled to Tyumen Oblast and its two autonomous districts of Yamalo Nenetsk and Khanty Mansiysk to reinforce existing U.S. cooperation and to explore more such opportunities. While in Khanty Mansiysk’s commercial capital of Surgut, the Consul General met with executives of UTair. The air carrier has a longstanding relationship with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to train its engineers, and recently the company agreed to purchase 40 Boeing aircraft. In Tyumen, the Consul General met with the oblast’s investment department head to discuss prospects for cooperation with the American oilfield service industry as well as other regional sectors in which U.S. and Russian businesses can work together.
Detroit Automakers Look at Russian Market and Opportunities
Matthew Edwards, Acting Director of the Office of the Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia of the U.S. Department of Commerce, joined the U.S.-Russia Business Council at the North American International Auto Show, January 12, in Detroit, Michigan to brief U.S. companies on the opportunities that the Russian market holds for automotive parts suppliers, and as well to discuss implications of Russia’s upcoming WTO accession.
Customs Regulations Best Practices Seminar
On December 15-16, 2011, the Russian Trade Representative in Washington, D.C., held a best practices seminar for a visiting delegation of Russian customs experts, with the support of the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group. The seminar included officials from the U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Department of Justice; those experts shared their experiences in regulating and administering U.S. customs laws and regulations.
First Meeting between Commerce Secretary and Minister of Economic Development
Newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson met Russian Minister for Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina in Hawaii on November 11 during the 2011 APEC Ministerial. This marked the first meeting of these two co-chairs of the BPC Working Group on Business Development and Economic Relations. They discussed the transition of APEC chairmanship from the United States in 2011 to Russia in 2012, and lauded recent progress toward the goal of Russian membership in the World Trade Organization.
Working Group Coordinators Hold Wide-Ranging Videoconference
On October 27, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Michelle O’Neill held a videoconference with her Russian counterpart, Deputy Minister of Economic Development Andrey Slepnev. Both serve as co-coordinators for the BPC’s Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group. The parties discussed the Working Group’s plan of action—including customs cooperation and small businesses—as well as standards cooperation, upcoming trade missions, government procurement, and market access issues.
Green Energy Sector Russian Delegation Participates in Training Exchange
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce Michelle O’Neill met with delegates from the U.S.-Russia Presidential Management Training Exchange Program on October 28. The delegates are owners or executives of Russian companies in the green energy sector. Their three-week program was implemented under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by then-Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Minister of Economic Development Nabiullina in November 2010. This visit follows a similar exchange focused on the information technology sector earlier this fall.
Russian Travel and Tourism Industry Representatives Learn about U.S. Destinations
U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg supported the “Visit USA Roadshow” on September 26. Kicking off the promotional event, Acting Consul General Stephen Hubler addressed representatives of the Russian travel and tourism industry, explaining the U.S. government’s role in facilitating travel to the United States in support of President Obama’s National Export Initiative. In all, some 120 representatives of Russian travel agencies signed up for “Visit USA Roadshow” workshops and informative sessions on travel destinations in the United States.
U.S. Road Standards and Maintenance a Theme of Recent Visit
Federal Highway Administration Administrator Victor Mendez traveled to Moscow the second week of October to give keynote remarks at the Second International Specialized Exhibition and the Conference on Progressive Technologies of the Winter Maintenance of Highways. He also held a series of discussions with Russian counterparts at the Ministry of Transportation on the development and implementation of standards that govern U.S. roads at the local, state, and federal levels.
Fostering U.S.-Russian Business Ties in the Ural Region
Yekaterinburg Consul General Michael Reinert led a delegation of U.S. companies to Bashkortostan and Orenburg from October 3 to 7 in order to facilitate trade and investment opportunities there. Citibank, Emerson Process Management, Penetron-Russia, Spectro Technical Services, and McDonald’s were among the American companies that presented projects to the Ufa (Bashkortostan) Chamber of Commerce and to Orenburg’s branch of the Russian Union of Industrialists. As part of the tour, Consul General Reinert met with Bashkortostan President Rustem Khamitov to discuss cooperation between the United States and the Republic of Bashkortostan.
Russian Regional Leaders Travel to Chicago and Silicon Valley
U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg facilitated the visit of a delegation from Chelyabinsk Oblast to the United States, October 3-6. Governor Yurevich headed a delegation of local businesspeople and Chelyabinsk State University staff and delivered a report on Chelyabinsk’s industrial partnerships at the annual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC) in Chicago. Following the USRBC event, Yurevich also held a number of meetings with representatives from the Chicago business community. The delegation continued to Silicon Valley where it visited Google and IT company incubators
Small and Medium Enterprises are Focus of SBA Visit
Assistant Administrator James Hammersley of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Deputy Assistant Administrator Bruce Purdy traveled to Moscow during the week of September 4 for a series of discussions with Russian government and non-government counterparts concerning small and medium enterprise (SME) finance and technical assistance. The U.S. and Russian officials discussed possible future activities, such as a delegation of American bankers to Russia in 2012 and alternating joint SME development conferences in each country. Read more»
Supporting U.S. Exhibitors at MAKS 2011
MAKS 2011, the 10th International Aviation and Space Salon, took place in Zhukovsky, Russia, August 16-21. Comparable to Le Bourget in France and Farnborough in the United Kingdom, MAKS Salon is one of the largest aerospace shows bringing together major Russian and international industry leaders to showcase the most advanced products and services in this sector. Despite the competition from European countries that have traditionally been very active in this market, the U.S. company participation featured 12 U.S. aerospace exhibitors, including several industry leaders with long and successful histories in Russia. The U.S. Commercial Service’s Moscow office provided information, counseling, and general support to U.S. exhibitors.
Russian Officials and Mayors Visit Detroit and Pittsburgh
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) organized a visit of several Russian economic officials and mayors to Detroit and Pittsburgh during the week of June 26 around the themes of economic transition, industrial restructuring, local economic development, and small business. The delegation met with local officials, university staff, NGOs, and the business community to share best practices. Small business was highlighted in a broad range of sectors including life/medical sciences, traditional and advanced manufacturing, neighborhood development, and even a vodka distillery. The Russian delegates appreciated the visits to Detroit and Pittsburgh since the former is being challenged to find ways to adjust and gain new industries while the latter has gone through a successful restructuring of its economy. They also drew parallels to Russia where many cities have experienced declines in their traditional economic base.
Russian Delegation Examines U.S. Standards Formation
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Commerce hosted a Russian delegation, led by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, July 6-8. They discussed standards issues and technical regulations, particularly in the construction, chemistry, and food industries. The delegation enjoyed a visit to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, meetings with U.S. private-sector industry representatives, and learning how standards formation in the United States informs the country’s regulatory system.
Invest in America Event Held in Moscow
The U.S. Commercial Service in Moscow hosted its first Invest in America event at the Embassy May 23. The Department of Commerce, in support of promoting increased bilateral trade, presented information on investment opportunities in the United States and the incentives offered by federal and state governments. The event also featured presentations by private investment companies which specialize in Russian-American trade and investment.
American and Russian Women in Small Business
From April 20-30, six Russian businesswomen travelled to the U.S. to meet with their American peers to discuss promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship among women in small business. Read more»
Exchange of Government Procurement Expertise
The U.S. Department of Commerce hosted a delegation from the Russian Ministry of Economic Development (MED) in Washington, DC for a series of exchanges on procurement practices with U.S. government agencies, including: the Department of Commerce, the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The Russian delegation, led by Deputy Minister Savelyev, came away with a better understanding of U.S. procurement practices. Topics included the principles of transparency and fair competition in the U.S. procurement system, methods of procurement, contract price determination, reverse auctions, use of e-government to enhance efficiency, and an overview of the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.
Deputy Under Secretary O’Neill in Moscow
On April 6-8, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce Michelle O’Neill traveled to Moscow and met with fellow working group coordinator, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Slepnev. Discussions focused on resolving barriers to bilateral trade and investment, and on the transition in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leadership. Ms. O’Neill also participated in seminars organized by business associations, including an American Chamber of Commerce in Russia hosted discussion on Russia’s Federal Procurement system as well as a U.S.-Russia Business Council event on the Skolkovo Innovation Project. Finally, Ms. O’Neill participated in discussions at a forum on export opportunities for U.S. businesses in Russia.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Signs Management Training MOU with Russia Minister of Economic Development
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke met with Russian Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial. The two leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining plans to cooperate on a management training exchange program that will enable private sector managers and specialists from each country to gain practical experience working in the other country’s market. Read MOU»
California Governor Schwarzenegger Leads Trade Mission to Russia
Governor of the State of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, speaks at a reception hosted in his honor by U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle. Governor Schwarzenegger came to Russia at the invitation of President Medvedev to promote California’s leadership in the high-technology industry, strengthen relations with California’s international partners and connect a number of Silicon Valley business leaders and venture capitalists with Russian leaders and business people. During his visit, the Governor was joined by a delegation of California's leading high-tech companies. Governor Schwarzenegger: “Russia’s commitment to creating its own high-tech hub will not only benefit Russia’s people and economy, but also California’s. Russia’s decision to emulate Silicon Valley is an opportunity for California companies to export their products and ideas to a new location; generating revenue and jobs for California.” Read More» See Photos» See Video»
Small Business Administration Hosts Russian Delegation on Commercializing Technology
From August 8-21, a Russian business delegation consisting of Russian economic officials, business association representatives, and hi-tech entrepreneurs, visited the United States for a series of meetings hosted by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Small Business Administration Jump Starts Cooperation with Russian Ministry of Economic Development
The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Russian Ministry of Economic Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March to expand cooperation on small business development. Read the MOU»
Signing of MOU
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Ms. Sharon R. Barner (left) and Director of the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks (Rospatent), Dr. Boris Simonov (right) sign the "Memorandum of Bilateral Cooperation Between the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks of the Russian Federation." Photos»