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St. Petersburg International Economic Forum
St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

Italy sees the light at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

In order to understand the potential expressed at the 2016 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, one should simply have a look at the business and financial newspapers, and analyze the results obtained by the Italian representative in terms of commercial and diplomatic negotiations: potential orders for a total amount of 3 billion euros, 4 letters of intent containing institutional agreements and several import-export contracts signed between Italian and Russian companies.

A remarkable firepower for a Forum that, despite its recent establishment and troubled administration, creates contacts every year among thousands of businessmen and governmental representatives coming from all over the world to discuss the hottest topics of global economy and set the basis for important trade and diplomatic agreements. The SPIEF (the acronym that gives its name to the forum's website) holds also a political relevance: the board of directors of the SPIEF is chaired by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, and the Chiefs of Government often met during past editions in order to reach agreements regarding international treaties with parliamentary delegates.

Nowadays, the relations between Russia and Europe have turned a little tense due to war issues in the Middle East and economic sanctions against Russia, still in force, which contributed to keep a gap between their stands. However, the annual edition of the SPIEF represented an occasion to relieve the tension on the EU-Russia axis, since two important personalities as Jean-Claude Junker and Matteo Renzi took part in the economic forum to show the good state of international relations and trade with Russia.

Among the Italians attending the forum in St. Petersburg there was also Giampaolo Lo Conte, international broker that we had the pleasure talk to in order to have his point of view on the new scenario of “détente” between EU and Russia: " This thaw is actually just political: Brussels showed its ability in respecting the sanctions regime and managing the whole situation through diplomatic channels. In my opinion - continues Giampaolo Lo Conte – there has never been a real “freeze” on trades between the parties. The stock exchanges have always performed well with relation to Russian market trends, while communitarian traders have done their best to keep the direct link with Russia alive, a link that is worth almost 4 billion euros per year, only considering Italy".

Indeed Matteo Renzi himself recently stated that "Russia is ready to open the door to new investments in Italy", especially for pre-competitive business classes, such as renewable energy and IT infrastructures. Can we state that the worst is over?


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