Oscar Stenström, State Secretary to the Minister for European Union Affairs and Trade of Sweden, and global leaders for Volvo Group, Oriflame, AstraZeneca, Stena, IKEA, Ferronordic and high level representatives from Ericsson, EF, SKF, Scania and Investor shared the table with Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of Russia, Alexander Morozov, and other senior representatives of Russian authorities and regions.
Swedish companies see a great potential in the Russian market. Among the most promising areas is the advanced human capital component, which has lately been seen as a digitalization enabler and a catalyst for innovation. The main topics involved discussions on how government regulations can help to promote development but not restrict it. The business leaders discussed their role in unleashing human capital potential and knowledge creation to boost creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, job creation, diversification of the economies and overall growth of the Russian and Swedish markets. The companies also described their accomplished and planned projects and partnerships in the field.
From an external, investor's point of view, the general tendency in Russia to toughen regulations to support localized companies and discriminate import is accompanied by tough requirements for localization. The regulated business environment sometimes makes investment cases difficult to justify. The Swedish company leaders rightly pointed out that bringing technology and investments to Russia requires a level playfield, namely predictable rules and regulations, transparent legal system, mechanisms to find reliable partners and develop joint initiatives, limited red tape, sustainability principles enabled, alignment with global mainstream ecosystem, clear mechanisms of patent, intellectual property, investor rights protection.
Ultimately, all participants agreed that global collaboration and cooperation contributes to technological and economic development, and thus to improvements of quality of life of the population. A seamless collaboration between government, academia and private business is a foundation for further development of the Russian talent, innovation and the economy. Among other things, such collaboration also implies a need for structural state reforms, investments into basic research and education of all types - from the Russian business.
Coming to the concrete steps to be taken, the Swedish side expressed its openness for collaboration and a strong willingness to contribute to further improvement of the investment climate in Russia through sharing global best practice, educating local talent, technical assistance and building trust in new technologies, and supporting a broad scope of people-to-people contacts.
Photos by the Roscongress Foundation
St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) has been held since 1997 and, over the years, it has turned into one of the biggest international economic forums in the world. In 2018, the Forum brought together over 15,000 participants, with high level guests including President Macron of France and Prime Minister Abe of Japan.
The Russia-Sweden round table in 2018 was co-organized by Business Sweden, Embassy of Sweden in Moscow, the Roscongress foundation and Östkontoret.