Russian Market Has More Opportunities For EU Business Than Media Portray- Belgian Diplomat

Russian Market Has More Opportunities for EU Business Than Media Portray- Belgian Diplomat

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 13th February, 2020) The Russian market can offer more prospects for European businesses, contrary to what is being told in the media and the skepticism shared among Western business circles, Gerard Seghers, the economic and commercial counselor with the Embassy of Belgium to Russia, told Sputnik.

"You might think that sanctions and counter-sanctions will make this market not interesting at all for the food industry, but as you can see we have managed to convince companies in Belgium, producers of chocolates and beers, to come to Russia, to have a look at the market opportunities here. Even though agricultural products from Europe cannot be exported [to Russia], there are still opportunities in Russia. This is what we are trying to convey to the business community in Belgium. You can come to Russia with bigger confidence than what maybe media portray in Europe," Seghers said on the sidelines of Moscow's Prodexpo food and drinks exhibition, where Belgium has a national stand.

The Russian investment image is suffering due to the extensive coverage of the crisis in eastern Ukraine and Moscow's alleged meddling in the US elections and Brexit, the diplomat said.

"When you bring people to Russia and they come here for the first time, you always get the same remarks: 'Oh, this is a nice city, Moscow is very modern, and people are very friendly.' There is a lot of misconception about Russia, misconception about the economy. And that's what we do actually: we try to bring as many people as we can to this country. We realize it might be difficult for people from Belgium to invest money and try to come to a market that maybe does not have a very pride image in Belgium, and that's why we pick targeted industries such as culture, aerospace, health sector," Seghers said.

Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated in the wake of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the successful referendum on Crimea's reunification with Russia in 2014. The West has repeatedly accused Moscow of meddling in other nations' political processes, inducing the 2016 US presidential election and the Brexit vote, without providing sufficient proof. Russia continues to deny all such allegations.

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