Cyprus – Russia – Singapore: one more step towards the Eurasian integration development

On October 10-11, the top-management of the State Corporation Rostec paid a visit to the Republic of Cyprus. The business mission was carried out at the initiative and with the active participation of the Russia-Singapore Business Council on the cooperation with Cyprus. The Deputy CEO of the State Corporation Rostec Mr Nikolay Volobuev, who is the Chairman of the Russia-Singapore Business Council as well, headed the Russian delegation. During the visit, negotiations were held with the representatives of Cyprus business community, in which took part the Deputy Chairman-Executive Director of the Russia-Singapore Business Council Mr Sergey Pronin and the Chairman of the Business Council for Cooperation with Cyprus Mr Mikhail Kuzovlev and the Deputy Chairman Mr Sergey Khrustalev.

During the visit, there were discussed prospects for the development of international cooperation on the Cyprus – Russia – Singapore line, primarily in the field of trade and economy. Singapore is located at the crossroads of major international trade, financial and logistics flows and is one of the world’s most innovative economies, what is making this small island State one of the key economic hubs of the Eastern hemisphere. In the West, Cyprus can play a similar role. As in Singapore, the country’s economy is based on the services sector (primarily banking sector), which together with the island’s position at the intersection of trade and financial flows from Europe and the Middle East, creates a favorable prospect for turning the island into a trade, financial and tourist center of the Eastern Mediterranean. The fact is that a number of companies among the members of the Russia-Singapore Business Council  (RSBC) and members of the State Corporation Rostec are working through a network of partnerships in Singapore and Cyprus, opening their official representative offices there.

Due to its unique geographical location, Russia acts as a kind of bridge between Europe and Asia, consistently pursuing the line of developing trade and economic cooperation with the West and the East. Cooperation of this kind acquires special importance in the connection with the processes of “new globalization”, i.e. with a fundamentally new way of building production chains compared to the 20th century. Until the mid-20th century production was based on the transportation of relatively few raw materials from different regions to industrial centers of the world, such as Europe, the United States and Japan, whereas nowadays the network of relations associated with the value chain is much more complex and includes dozens of enterprises located in different, often far from each other regions of the world. Diversification of goods and transport flows with the involvement of players from different countries, regional distribution of functions and activities is of fundamental importance. In these new conditions, Russia becomes not just a “bridge” between Europe and Asia, but a key element of Eurasian integration.

Such prospects became the main topic of discussion at the negotiations of the management of the State Corporation Rostec and business councils with representatives of the business community of the Republic of Cyprus. Combining leading Russian manufacturing enterprises and scientific organizations, Rostec is a key supplier of products and solutions in a number of industries, including the most innovative: smart city technologies, digitalization and automation, blockchain systems, etc. All these make the Corporation one of the key players in the Eurasian economic space.

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In the conditions of “new globalization” and constant acceleration of all economic processes, it is important not only to offer high-quality innovative products and solutions, but also to build the most effective and rapid interaction between suppliers of goods and services and end users. RSBC has expertise in this area and has already implemented a number of successful integration projects with Rostec, such as the international trade information and service platform RSTrade (www.rstradehouse.com). Its tools make it possible to considerably simplify the communication between suppliers and consumers, partners in international industrial and research cooperation, transferring into the digital space both the process of trade transactions and logistics services (by the integration of RSTrade with the Singapore logistics platform CamelONE), finding partners and tracking the progress of investment projects, contract production, including localization of production and R&D cooperation. It should be noted that the platform is integrated into state and interstate projects. In particular, it was integrated with the State industry information system of Russia. In addition, it is a part of projects supervised by the Eurasian Economic Commission on the creation of the Eurasian network of technology transfer, industrial cooperation and subcontracting in the EAEU, as well as the project of development of digital transport corridors, providing services for foreign economic activity, acting as a kind of digital gateway in the relations of EAEU with other countries.

Currently, the platform working in four languages (Russian, English, Indonesian and Chinese) combines almost 82 thousand companies from 23 countries. There is a huge range of products and 247 types of various services.

Another strategic project that contributes to the successful establishment of communication between potential partners is the Center for Overseas Promotion of Russian high-tech companies and presentation of investment projects, established on the initiative of RSBC with the support of Rostec in Singapore. On its basis, there is a showroom, where there is a permanent exhibition of Russian innovative products, it is used during events within the framework of business missions of Russian companies, for the organization of bilateral and multilateral meetings, educational events with the participation of experts from Russia and South-East Asia. The Center is a major component of the R&D center – a joint project of RSBC and Radio-Electronic Cluster of the State Corporation Rostec. Now more than 160 companies from Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, a number of countries of South Asia and Africa, etc. are actively cooperating with the Center.

Thus, the Center for Overseas Promotion and RSTrade platform, mutually complementing each other’s functions, act as a kind of locomotive of trade, economic and innovative cooperation between Russia and Singapore, as well as in the broader field – EAEU and ASEAN, with the possibility and usefulness of expanding the geography of interaction.

The experience gained in the framework of the development of Russia-Singapore cooperation and formed models of building cooperation can be successfully applied to Cyprus – if their application is accompanied by expert support from specialists familiar with the peculiarities of the local business environment. The Business Council for Cooperation with Cyprus is ready to provide such support.

Summing up the results of the business program, the parties stressed the importance of developing cooperation between Cyprus – Russia – Singapore in the conditions of contradictory modern realities. The dynamically changing situation at the global and regional levels necessitates constant diversification of business, search for new options and schemes of building business. Changes are not only a threat, but also new opportunities – for example, through free trade agreements. Thus, on October 1, 2019, such an agreement between Singapore and EAEU was signed.

By the way, RSBC acted as one of the initiators and active promoters of the policy to conclude this agreement. It is worth taking a close look at this experience and thinking about whether Cyprus to go in the future the same way.

The agreements reached during the negotiations were enshrined in the cooperation Agreement between the RSBC and the Business Council for Cooperation with Cyprus, signed on October 10. The participants of the business mission expressed hope that this Agreement will become a cornerstone in building long-term and promising cooperation between Cyprus, Russia and Singapore. Agreements were also reached on cooperation between individual Cypriot and Russian companies.

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At the end of the business part of the program, the parties took part in the celebrations dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the birth of Mr Yevgeny Primakov, held at the Russian Embassy in Cyprus. Its key part was the opening on the territory of the Embassy of the monument-bust of the outstanding Russian scientist-orientalist and diplomat. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Cyprus H.E. Mr Stanislav Osadchiy made a commemorative speech. In his speech he noted a huge role of Yevgeniy Primakov in the formation of modern Russia and its foreign policy doctrine. Being a versatile professional – at the same time a brilliant analyst and practical politician, Mr Primakov has repeatedly emphasized the importance of pursuing an independent foreign policy in conjunction with openness to international cooperation. Nowadays, the relevance of this approach is confirmed and even increases, and it is hoped that further cooperation between Russia, Singapore and Cyprus will give a positive example of its practical implementation.

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