by Ralph T. Niemeyer
Today was the first day of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which is one of the largest business platforms in the world for discussing topical issues of the global economy, establishing cooperation, and sharing best world practices in order to ensure sustainable development. This year SPIEF brought together more than 17,000 guests from nearly 130 countries. According to expert estimates, the volume of possible contracts at the forum is almost 66.5 billion euros.
SPIEF is a traditionally rich business program covering a wide range of topics. It will probably be difficult to find a topic or direction for the development of any industry that will not be discussed on the sidelines of the Forum. Panel discussions, round tables, thematic breakfasts, business dialogues and televised debates touch upon the most pressing issues of politics and economics, the development of modern technologies and digitalization, the environment and social development of society.
Based on the SPIEF program this year, we can conclude that the Russian economy is reorienting towards the East. Chinese Ambassador to Moscow Zhang Hanhui and head of the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia Zhou Liqun will take part in the forum. It is possible that Russian companies will sign contracts with Chinese companies, which will be widely represented at SPIEF. In 2022, among the largest transactions at the forum were such as the contract of the company “New Land Grain Corridor” and enterprises from China “Zhongchengtong International Investment” worth about 22 billion euros. This year, a large delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs is again expected at the forum. The presence of China at the forum will be symbolic – instead of Mercedes, the Chinese car Exeed will become the forum’s official car.
The United Arab Emirates will also act as a guest state of SPIEF. This small state has now become an economic hub for Russian companies. In connection with the strengthening of ties with Russia, the UAE is under strong pressure from its ally the United States.
Kyiv also asks the leadership of the UAE not to allow Russian companies to circumvent sanctions. Shortly before the start of the forum, this issue was discussed at a meeting of a high-ranking UAE delegation with representatives of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The idea of a just multipolar world is finding more and more supporters among various countries. Achieving the goal will not be easy. This will require a revision of the entire economic system and the unification of the efforts of millions of people: politicians, entrepreneurs, experts, scientists and cultural figures, ordinary citizens, including representatives of the younger generation.
Therefore, the special value of SPIEF lies in the fact that it provides an opportunity to discuss the most important topics facing emerging markets and the international community as a whole in order to better understand the contours of the emerging world order.