Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 19th 2015 Contents BG6 TRADE
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt NOVEMBER 19 • 2015
Despite modest trade
between Russia and T&T,
Nikolay Smirnov, Russian
Ambassador to T&T,
based in Guyana wants to see greater co-
operation in energy, agriculture and tourism.
"Our countries have the common goal to diversify their
economies and reduce the dependence on oil and gas. Russia
and T&T can establish mutually beneficial cooperation to
achieve this goal. The Russian company, Miratorg--- one of
the leading meat producers in our country---has an interest
in exploring the Trinidadian market. We are waiting for the
response from the Ministry of Agriculture of T&T to clarify
the sanitary requirements and receive veterinary certificates,"
he told the Business Guardian by email on Monday following
a visit to T&T over the weekend.
Smirnov was invited to Port-of-Spain by President Anthony
Carmona for the annual dinner for Heads of Missions accredited
to T&T and took the opportunity to see T&T Government
officials and business community leaders.
He said he had a "fruitful" discussion with Foreign Affairs
Minister Dennis Moses on regional and international issues
and the fight against terrorism.
"Our countries traditionally have good cooperation in the
areas of oil and gas exploration and other bilateral issues."
He said he requested meetings with Minister of Energy,
Nicole Olivierre, to discuss the upcoming Gas Exporting Coun-
tries Forum (GECF) Summit to be held on November 23, 2015
in Tehran, Iran.
"Russia, along with T&T, successfully work within Gas
Exporting Countries Forum. Both of our countries are among
the organisation's founders. As of the forthcoming summit in
Iran, Russia advocates a consolidated GECF position on non-
acceptance of ex-territorial rights and regulatory economic
sanctions in gas trade against forum member states which
have a negative impact on the gas market. We are in contact
with the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs and the
Ministry of Energy to agree on a mutually acceptable approach
to its draft declaration."
GECF is a gathering of the world's leading natural gas pro-
ducers and was set up as international governmental organisation
with the objective to increase the level of co-ordination and
strengthen the collaboration among member countries.
The member countries of the forum are: Algeria, Bolivia,
Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya,
Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, T&T, United
Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Iraq,
Kazakhstan, Holland, Norway,
Oman and Peru have the status of Observer Members.
About Russia's interest in selling meat to T&T, Smirnov
"I also requested meetings with the Minister of Agriculture
and Land Resources, Clarence Rambharat, to inquire on the
procedure for export of meat products from Russia to T&T.
They could not accommodate these calls. However I forwarded
the relevant materials to them by diplomatic notes waiting
for their responses and clarification."
Russia's economic outlook
According to statistics provided by the Russian Embassy
for trade between T&T and Russia, from January to August
2015 trade reached the level of US$126 million.
"The Russian export to T&T equals US$125.6 million and
Russian imports, US$0.4 million. In 2014 the trade balance
exceeded $320 million, in 2013 it was $750 million. This trend
reflects the volatility of oil prices, the main trading commodity.
The major products of Russia's export is fuel and ferrous
metals while the major import products are cacao beans, steel
work and rum."
The Economist magazine predicts low oil prices are weighing
heavily on Russia's economy and will continue to affect its
"We forecast Russia's economy will contract by 3.6 per cent
in 2015. High inflation has led to a sharp fall in real wages.
Tight monetary policy and weak business sentiment will lead
to a deep fall in investment. We expect real Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) to fall by 0.4 per cent in 2016. Low oil prices
will force the government to undertake deep spending cuts
in 2016-18 to keep the budget deficit in check. Structural
weaknesses will keep trend GDP growth under two percent
a year in the medium term."
Last year, Smirnov had hinted that Caribbean Airlines was
interested in buying Russian-made planes and he gave an
"Air transportation in the Caribbean region is often a problem
due to lack of direct routes between the states. Last year, the
Russian side forwarded a proposal to CAL to consider the
acquirement of modern Sukhoi 100 medium-range passenger
planes which may help enhance regional route network. Besides
Russian air companies, it is used by air carriers in Mexico,
Thailand, Nepal, Lao, Kazakhstan, Armenia. For five years of
service SSJ 100 has earned the reputation of reliable and energy
efficient airliner. We have not received any response to this
offer by the previous CAL administration and we hope that
new CEO of the company will consider it."
When asked if how Russia can give advice to smaller countries
like T&T on how to combat terrorism in the airline industry,
he said all countries must work together to deal with this
On Tuesday, Russia's Government said it has "evidence"
that it was a terrorist act that blew up its passenger plane on
October 31 which killed 224 Russian tourists and crew.
"Egyptian authorities as well as the International Civil Avi-
ation Organisation (ICAO) are cooperating with Russian Ministry
of Transport, Russian Aviation Agency on revealing the causes
of the crash. A preliminary statement has been already made.
All countries are interested in thorough investigation and fair
results as an Airbus 321 plane is widely used worldwide."
He also said Russia values contacts with Association of
Caribbean States Secretariat (ACS) and strengthens interaction
with ACS member countries on bilateral basis.
"As an association observer our country is ready to build
active ties with the ACS and establish constructive dialogue
to develop specific areas of cooperation including economic,
security, humanitarian fields, disaster relief and natural resources
He also spoke with T&T's Foreign Affairs Minister on visa
requirements between the two countries.
"We can encourage our tourist sectors, strengthen cultural,
people-to-people contacts by signing the bilateral visa waiver
agreement which was discussed with the Minister of Foreign
and Caricom Affairs, Dennis Moses during my recent meeting
with him. We have signed the same visa-free travel agreements
with 21 Latin American and Caribbean countries," he said.
Envoy: Look to energy, agriculture, tourism
How Russia, T&T
can boost trade
Trade between the Russian Federation and T&T: Main trading commodities.
(Data by Federal Customs Service)
Russian Ambassador to T&T
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