Russia and India look to boost trade ties

Russia and India are looking to double trade volumes between the two nations by 2012 to $20 billion annually, with trade growing despite the turbulent global economy.

Despite the slump which has hammered the global economy this year trade between BRIC nations Russia and India is on the rise, with Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zhukov expecting further growth.

“The current relations between Russia and India can be defined as a strategic partnership. Our trade relations show stable growth. Last year they stood at $7 billion and this year we expect it to be $8.4 billion. The goal of increasing trade to 10 billion dollars next year seems reachable.”

The Indian business community sees Russia as a desirable investment location. With robust economic growth expected to resume soon they see now as the time to put their money into Russia, according to N. Kumar, Vice Chairman of the Sanmar Group.

“Russia had been growing very well. It's been growing 7% in the last several years. It means the economy is growing and there is need for goods and services. And we would believe that the climate is good, and there are lots of opportunities for the Indian businesses.”

Bilateral economic relations are coming off a low base with India currently well down the list of Russia’s trade partners – and less than 1% of Russia’s total trade volume. Business leaders say that lack of awareness and red tape are key factors which have limited ties in the past.

“One issue is the lack of understanding of what is happening in Russia. Indians are not aware of the market in Russia. And the second issue, of course, are administrative procedures. How do you go through this? Where do we get information?”

Indian Commerce Minister, Anand Sharma, says growth is likely in a range of key sectors.

“Energy sector infrastructure engineering mining. These would be the sectors of interest for Indian industry.”

With the two nations looking to double trade within 3 years representatives of both countries have their work cut out.

Despite this delegates to the India-Russia business forum are optimistic, and believe that the two BRIC nations can power each other into a more prosperous future.