French companies have adapted to new economic realities
The conference “Economic Potential Opportunities of Marseilles and Provence,” organized with support from the Moscow Department of External Economic and International Relations (MDEEIR), took place in the Russian capital.
A French delegation headed by Jean Roatta, Deputy Mayor of Marseilles in charge of International Relations and Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation came to Moscow for the occasion. The delegation included Deputy Mayors of Marseille in charge of the economy and tourism, innovation and international business experts, members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and journalists from leading publications of Marseilles and Provence.
During his opening speech at the forum, Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Social Development Leonid Pechatnikov gave a warm welcome to the participants. He pointed out that it’s important to strengthen business and cultural ties between Moscow and France, as well as inter-municipal cooperation with the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis.
In spite of the European sanctions, trade turnover between Moscow and French companies has been growing, said Minister of the Moscow Government and Head of the MDEEIR Sergey Cheremin. “French companies quickly adapted to our new reality, and we saw a near 45% increase in trade turnover with France in 2016 compared to 2015,” Sergey Cheremin said, “Last year, this figure was at 15%. This shows that French business continues to have a positive outlook with respect to economic opportunities in Moscow and Russia.” He added that total trade turnover between Moscow and French partners amounted to about 5 billion euros over the past year.
There are about 200 companies with French capital currently registered in Moscow. “I’d like to point out that we saw a serious downturn in 2015, and there was a decline in trade turnover between Moscow and French companies. But I have to give them credit: not a single company left the Moscow market, and they continue to work in the capital today,” the Minister said.
Mr. Cheremin thanked his French colleagues for helping to organize Days of Moscow Culture in France, which will take place in three cities (including Marseilles) on June 10-17 of this year.
The head of the French delegation said that it was important to develop economic ties between Moscow and Marseilles. “It’s important to work closely in the economic sector, which means there needs to be cooperation between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Moscow and Marseilles,” Jean Roatta said.
Inward Investment Director at Provence Promotion Stefane Ghio spoke at the conference, presenting a report entitled “Investment Opportunities in Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles.” The head of the main Tourism Office in Marseilles Maxime Tissot, who talked about the development of the tourism industry in Marseilles, also spoke at the event.
The possibility of introducing direct flights between Moscow and Marseilles was also discussed at the meeting. “We’re waiting for tourists from Moscow, and we have a modern airport that can accommodate 2 million tourists a year,” said Dominique Vlasto, Deputy Mayor of Marseilles in charge of tourism. Representatives from the French delegation said that Marseille’s priorities include the construction and upgrade of the city infrastructure, culture, and tourism. They pointed out that Moscow is a beautiful city that is convenient for pedestrians and has high-quality sports infrastructure.