The XI Session of the Russian-Arab Business Council and the III International Exhibition «ARABIA-EXPO» took place in St. Petersburg at «Lenexpo» Exhibition Center from May 30th to June 1, 2013. The event was attended by the delegations from the most Arab countries, including UAE, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Palestine, Oman, Egypt, Sudan, Mauritania, Bahrain. Within the framework of the exhibition exposition, national pavilions of the UAE (won the first place), Lebanon, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Palestine, Sudan and Mauritania were presented.
T.A.Gvilava, the Director of the Russian-Arab Business Council, lead the plenary session meeting. A number of high-ranking representatives of the Russian and the Arab business circles took part in it. S.N. Katyrin, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russia, opened the meeting, he read out the greeting from Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, to the participants and guests of the session and the exhibition.
After that Mr. Katyrin, on his own behalf, welcomed personally the participants and the guests of the event. He noted that foreign economic relations with the Arab world countries were of strategic importance for Russia, because the Arab world was not only a region rich in natural resources, but also a market for the Russian products sale and the Russian investments placement.
A. Cassar, the Chairman of the General Union of the Arab Chambers, noted that in the recent years there had been a certain decline in the development of the Russian-Arab trade and economic relations, primarily for the geopolitical reasons related to the changes that had occurred in a number of Arab countries in the framework of so called «The Arab spring». However, despite this, the private sector in the Arab countries was looking at its role optimistically, that it could play in the areas of financing, investment, construction, and other economy sectors. The Chairman of the General Assembly of the Arab Chambers also said that the Arab countries and Russia should intensify the existing potential of economic cooperation to increase their joint share in the financial international system, as well as to increase the trade exchange volume.
After that, V. P. Yevtushenkov, the Chairman of the Russian-Arab Business Council, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSFC "Sistema" addressed the meeting. He expressed confidence that this increase was the Council merit. He also highlighted especially the efforts of A. Cassar, the President of the General Union of the Arab Chambers, the Chairman of the Arab Department of the Russian-Arab Business Council, who had been developing cooperation and friendship with Russia for over 40 years. V.P. Yevtushenkov also confirmed that the Russian department of the Council, for its part, was doing the same with the aim of strengthening the Russian-Arab interaction.
Khalil Al-Khondji, the Head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Oman, noted that he had participated in the previous «ARABIA-EXPO» exhibition (June 2010) as the head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Oman, and at that time he had also represented the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. Mr. Al-Khondji noted that there was a strategic dialogue between the countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and Russia, active contacts were being held at the business and official levels, and expressed hope also for an increase in commodity circulation.
V.A. Lavrentsev, the Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg read the greeting of G.S. Poltavchenko, the Governor of St. Petersburg, to the participants and guests of the session and the exhibition. He noted that the Russian-Arab relations had a long history and expressed satisfaction with the event holding in the northern capital of Russia.
Jawad bin Naji, the Minister of National Economy of Palestine, noted that the RABC was one of the main tools to ensure growth in trade among the Arab countries and Russia, but its volume was limited and did not correspond to the level of the Russian-Arab political relations. He also noted the great success in the RABC work over the 10 years of the Council's existence and called for further development of all areas cooperation.
Juma Al-Kit, the Deputy Minister of Economy of the UAE, said that the Arab region saw in Russia not only a reliable economic partner, but also a friend with whom the Arabs had the same views and aspirations. The Deputy Minister of Economy of the UAE noted that the mutual investment exchange between the UAE and Russia amounted to $ 22 billion, and the United Arab Emirates intended to remain one of the largest investors investing money in Russia.
Kazem Al-Husni, the Advisor to the Minister of Trade of Iraq, said that the Iraqi side was ready to develop economic cooperation with Russia. Mr. Al-Husni noted that large Russian companies were entering the oil and electrical power sectors of the Iraqi economy.
After the speeches end of the plenary session participants, the ceremony of signing an agreement took place. The agreement was on cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Mauritania (signer - M. Mahmoud, the President of the Chamber) and the Russian-Arab Business Council (signer - T.A.Gvilava, the Director of RABC).
The official opening ceremony of the III International Exhibition «ARABIA-EXPO» took place after the plenary session end.