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14 Feb, 2008 19:54

Interview with German Gref

This week's Russia-India trade forum has seen Sberbank flag its plans to open up the booming South Asian economy. Sberbank CEO German Gref spoke to RT about its plans.

German Gref: This forum is a unique opportunity to meet all possible partners, both from government and from business. I had a meeting with the three largest Indian banks which are located in different cities, but came to Russia-India forum. Also I've held talks with key authority representatives about Sberbank's entrance into Indian market. It might take up to half a year.

The expansion of Russian companies in India gives Sberbank the opportunity to start operations in this new market. Sberbank’s entrance into India will create a new financial infrastructure for Russian companies, supporting them with qualified consultants, and help small and medium enterprises start working in India.

Russia Today: Has Sberbank already reached agreements with any companies?

G.G.: We are holding talks with our long time partner Systema on opening credit lines from Sberbank on projects the company has here. And I hope that, after Sberbank opens here, Systema will be one of the first to become our customers.

RT: How attractive is the Indian market as an investment opportunity? And can investment boost bilateral trade turnover?

G.G.: Indian market is in the top three most attractive countries, and it’s still possible to enter the market at the low cost.

Creating financial infrastructure and bilateral market access will boost turnover through services, and this will change the quality of trade turnover. 

RT: Do you think that world is facing a higher inflation risk due to the financial measures of fighting liquidity crisis?

G.G.: It s already obvious that we have a higher inflation outlook, looking at the last quarter. It's an inevitable result of high economic growth around the world and the only way to fight this is through promoting competition and open markets.