Moscow Region representatives conduct roadshows to entice Delhi and Mumbai investors
“We offer demand” and “you bring supply” was the tagline for Indian investors to Moscow Region – the most industrialized and productive part of the Russian Federation.
The business pitch was made by Ekaterina Zinoveva, Deputy Governor of Moscow Region, and her colleague, Adil Gantsov, Deputy Minister of Investment, Industry and Science of Moscow Region, to Indian entrepreneurs in New Delhi last Thursday. The event was part of a sustained campaign to enhance bilateral cooperation between Russia and India.
Russia has been ramping up its trade efforts with Asian economic powerhouses such as China and India. The partners seek to enhance sustainability and economic growth through further development of business in Asia. Indian enterprises are exploring the opportunity to gain direct access to the Russian market and a wider representation through local manufacturing and the supply of high-quality Indian products. Efforts have increased amid the US-led Western sanctions following the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), the New Delhi-based apex body of industry and commerce in the country, has been championing Russia’s cause in conjunction with Fedor Sletov, Deputy Head of the International Division of the Moscow Region Government.
Jyoti Vij, Additional Director-General, FICCI, welcomed the guests and explained the geopolitical perspective and importance of ease-of-doing business in Moscow Region.
Zinoveva, who is also the Minister of Investment, Industry and Science of Moscow Region, was on her maiden trip to India and urged local investors to take advantage of the comprehensive incentives provided by her government including plot selection, improved access to utilities, streamlined acquisition of approvals and permits, support measures such as export promotion, and also signing an off-set contract, which is a reciprocal and compensatory trade agreement.
Zinoveva told RT, “The Moscow Region is endowed with all the facilities that are required for an industry to flourish. Except for a sea link and the oil and gas sector, the region has everything going for it. We want Indian companies to set up businesses – from pharmaceuticals to heavy engineering to chemicals to paints to fertilizers to biotechnology. The entrepreneurs will be spoiled for choices of the attractive opportunities on offer. The lucrative tax incentives make it a win-win situation for first-time Indian business houses planning to make a foray into our region.”
Recent data showed that the turnover between India and Moscow Region was $2 billion last year, which was about a 30% year-on-year increase.
“Our roadshows are likely to give a much-needed bump to this figure, as we open our region to a wide spectrum of Indian business houses, who may not have been aware of the lucrative incentives on offer for them,” she added.
Her deputy, Gantsov, couldn’t agree more, and he shared data to drive home the point why the region, which is 18 times bigger than the capital, Moscow, could be a game-changer for Indian corporate entities. He stressed that in a de-dollarized world, the rupee-ruble payment mechanism is on track for completion and over 20 Russian banks are complying with financial norms through special vostro accounts (SVAs).
Dr. Alexander Rybas, Trade Representative of Russia to India, reflected upon the historic occasion of the 70th anniversary of the bilateral trade agreement amid a renewed push to scale up commercial activities beyond $50 billion this year. Ildar Batkaev, Head of Economic Division of the Russian Embassy in India, spoke of the trade imbalance between the two countries and how New Delhi must look to raise its export bar, which at present is only about $3 billion. However, the senior diplomat exuded confidence about a free trade agreement (FTA) that has been in the works to give wider access to each other’s markets, better protection to investments and a fillip to the blue economy, thanks to the international north-south corridor.
Shivank Sharma, who heads Financial Institutions and Trade Finance at Russia’s Sberbank discussed the compliance norms beyond the SWIFT mechanism and how the bank has emerged as a major guarantor of transparency amid these troubled times. He spoke about the speed of settlements “either on the same or the next day of business” to ease Indian exporters' fears about unfriendly currencies such as the US dollar or euro.
Indian business houses looking to venture into Moscow Region can reference the success stories of Uflex Group and PSK Pharma in the past few years as examples. Junaid Khan, General Director of Flex Films Russia and Satya Punia, President of the Rus Biopharm group of companies, spoke to the audience about the ease of doing business and how they not only managed to create jobs for Russians but also developed a successful business model, thanks to their first-mover advantage in Moscow Region.
Last Friday, a similar event was held in India’s financial hub of Mumbai, which was attended by over 80 business representatives from the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat. Friday’s event focused on the pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnologies sectors.
The government-to-business (G2B) discussions enthused all stakeholders, as several Indian entrepreneurs looking to make big strides on foreign soil are likely to take the initiative to invest in new Russian markets.