Vince Cable urges Britain to strengthen trade with Russia

Britain must build stronger trade connections with Russia, says business secretary Vince Cable.

At today’s business summit with Russia’s first deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Cable said British firms must pursue new exporting opportunities in Russia.

To drive the effort, a co-operation agreement has been signed between UK Export Finance and Russia’s Export Credit Agency (EXIAR).

At the UK-Russia Intergovernmental Steering Committee on trade and investment in London today it was also revealed there are already a number of corporate projects underway.

For example, manufacturing firm Tensar plans to build a plant in St Petersburg in a £12m project. Construction firm Stoneguard intends to build a waste processing facility in Novosibirsk, worth around £60m.

Cable said: “Britain’s trade with Russia is rapidly expanding and the opportunities will only continue to grow as its economy opens up further to trade and investment.”

Russia is already UK’s 14th biggest export market and is one of the fastest growing, with British exports having grown 39% in 2011 to £4.78bn.

Activity has been picking up this year, with a number of deals completed between Russian and British firms, including Shell opening a plant in Tver, Imperial college signing a collaborative research agreement with the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis and Sberbank getting listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Cable pointed to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation earlier this year as an important step, which will make it easier for UK firms to do business there.

During the summer, the British Business Embassy in London promoted business opportunities for UK firms at major upcoming sporting events, including the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2018 World Cup, both to be hosted in Russia.

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