Minister Assures City on Track for SPIEF
Published: April 30, 2014 (Issue # 1808)
Alexei Ulyukayev, Chairman of the Organizing Committee and the Russian Minister of Economic Development, told assembled media members at a press conference on Apr. 23 that he remains convinced all preparations for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, or SPIEF, in May will be ready. He also addressed the current political and economic atmosphere, acknowledging that it may influence the event.
During the conference, Ulyukayev emphasized that strengthening ties in the business world and fostering greater trust will be a key component of the event, echoing its stated theme, “Sustaining Confidence in a World Undergoing Transformation.”
Sergei Belyakov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, and Anatoly Kotov, Chair of the St. Petersburg Committee for Economic Policy and Strategic Planning, also fielded questions about the city’s preparations for the upcoming event.
The forum, which starts May 22, will welcome 142 senior executives from international businesses as well as 115 senior executives from Russian companies for three days of panels and roundtables. However, Ulyukayev emphasized that the forum is not meant to solve vital political issues but rather strengthen business ties.
“There are certain risks, to the extent that we are holding the event not in a very favorable geopolitical environment,” Ulyukayev said before adding, “but we’ve been very attentive.”
Despite frosty political relations between Russia and the West, Ulyukayev stated that the number of companies and participants that have confirmed their participation has in fact risen. During this point last year, 693 participants had confirmed their attendance, while this year, 734 companies have sent in confirmations. The number of senior executives attending has also increased from 2013, with 561 already confirmed.
Goldman Sachs, British Petroleum, CitiBank, Siemens and Hyundai are some of the confirmed foreign companies that will be in attendance this year. Individuals who will be present include Alisher Usmanov, General Director of Gazprom and Russia’s wealthiest man, Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO of Telenor Group, and Vagit Alekperov, President of Lukoil.
Three heads of government, four foreign ministers and five foreign cabinet members are slated to attend as well, although Ulyukayev was unable to provide any names at the time.
Although there will be no specific discussion about the Crimea’s addition to the Russian Federation and how this may affect the economy, Ulyukayev admitted that it would likely be a topic brought up during discussions in the other events.
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