International Economic Forum will take place in St. Petersburg from 4 to 6 June. A year ago, when the economic crisis had already affected the United States and Europe, businesses still continued to call Russia a “quiet haven.” The Government in its turn had built long-term plans for the new role of Russia in the world. And in his speech at the Economic Forum, President Medvedev said: “We have waited long for new bright victories: in economy, technology, and social development.” But the crisis still made it to Russia, and loudly announced itself. Following four months of 2009 the decline in GDP was 10%, while the budget deficit reached 9% of GDP.
As BNP Paribas Bank President Philippe Delpal told the Russian service of BBC, the main theme of the forum should be the investment climate in Russia. “I would like to know how we should restructure our strategy to conduct business in Russia. How we, foreign investors, can invest more in the country, and how we can create a safer place for investments in Russia”,- explained Delpal.
Organizers have invited over 2 thousand participants to the forum, including representatives of the political elite and leaders of major corporations such as Exxon Mobile, Gazprom, TNK-BP, and ONEKSIM. But shortly before the forum it has been revealed that not all of the invited people will attend the program. “The crisis is not the best time to overspend” felt heads of international corporations, and stayed home.
But even those who come are unlikely to listen to the recommendations of the forum on the crisis. The program, offered by the organizers, at first glance, is large: there is a session to discuss the causes of the crisis, its impact on different sectors of business, even the history of previous crises, and there are also planned roundtables for the companies in banking sector, oil, transport, and even film.
The forum members give particular attention to the subject of reserve currency. Opinions about the fact that dollar, as such, needs to have an alternative appear increasingly in recent times. A few weeks ago, representatives of China and Brazil discussed the possibility of using national currencies instead of dollar in trade transactions.
In general, however, from the 13th Economic Forum in St. Petersburg experts and analysts are not waiting for anything good. Members who attend the forum will most probably leave without a prescription from anti-crisis, and without hope for the new rules of doing business in Russia. And even the planned concert of the group Duran Duran on Palace Square is threatened to be spoiled by rainy weather.