Over 25 senior business leaders attended ARD’s inaugural Business over Breakfast event in what was a frank and far reaching discussion.
His Excellency Mr Vladimir Morozov, Russian Ambassador to Australia, opened the session with a wide ranging speech that included some analysis of the current economic conditions in Russia, and its recent shift to greater engagement with China. While Western sanctions have caused some problems for international trade and financing they have not prevented Russia from fully engaging in multilateral fora such as APEC, G20 and FATF, nor has it damaged the Russian Government’s relationship with foreign investors. His Excellency also pointed out that the distance from Darwin to Vladivostok is equal to that of Darwin to Beijing negating the tyranny of distance theory for the small levels of engagement of Australian businesses with Russia.
Finally, Ambassador Morozov announced that under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative, the first Eastern Economic Forum will be held in Vladivostok in September this year. The agenda includes detailed presentations of the Government’s plans to develop the region and the Ambassador offered the support of the Embassy to facilitate invitations, visas and other logistic arrangements.
In the ensuing open conversation around the table, guests were generally positive about their experiences in doing business with Russia and were keen for more Australian companies to enter the market. While resources and agribusiness are the two industries that have the most activity, participants were of the view that it is in everyone’s interests to expand into other industries to broaden the appeal of the bilateral relationship.
One immediate opportunity that was identified was the International Mining and Resources Conference that is to be held in Melbourne 9 – 13 November 2015 and this is now on the ARD calendar of events.