Posts Tagged ‘Russia’


Energy Efficiency Trade Mission to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia

February 29, 2012

June 4-7, 2012

The U.S. Commercial Service is organizing an Energy Efficiency Trade Mission to Russia to be led by a senior government official next June.  The trade mission is targeting a broad range of technologies including: electricity transmission infrastructure, smart grids, energy storage, road construction materials and green building, environmental goods and services, especially water treatment and water efficiency, which reduce the environmental impact of industrial processes and energy generation.

The trade mission fee, including lodging for one person per company is $2,650 for a small or medium-sized enterprise (fewer than 500 employees) or $3,200 for large firms.  The fee for each additional representative is $500.

New legislation and national goals addressing energy inefficiency and climate change, and the need to improve environmental services to the general public are generating a demand for energy efficient  products and services and environmental technologies in Russia. Russia presents lucrative opportunities for U.S. firms in these sectors.

The mission will include one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors and joint venture partners; meeting with national and regional government officials; and networking events in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Apply at:

For more information contact: Anne Novak at (202) 262-7764 or


New Training Exchange Program with Russian Business Leaders Launched

December 20, 2011

Becky Long is an International Trade Specialist at Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) in the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit.

For more than 20 years the Special American Business Internship Training Program, or SABIT has been promoting economic development in the countries of the former Soviet Union and encouraging business ties between these countries and the United States. Today SABIT continues to put a strong emphasis on the development of Eurasian countries and is at the same time expanding its reach into other regions by hosting groups from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The SABIT office, under the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit, annually hosts 12 to 15 delegations of professionals from emerging market countries in industries such as airport development, cargo transportation and logistics, niche tourism, intellectual property rights, construction, and energy efficiency just to name a few.  These delegations come to the United States for three to four weeks to meet with their industry counterparts in the private sector, government, associations, academia, and other relevant organizations.  All of the meetings are arranged entirely by the SABIT staff based on their industry knowledge and the participants’ interests, resulting in programs that are tailor-made for each delegation.

SABIT’s professional development training programs directly support economic development by encouraging market-based reforms, while generating valuable export and investment opportunities for U.S. companies.  Since 1990, over 1,500 U.S. companies and organizations have hosted more than 5,000 international trainees through SABIT, resulting in more than $850 million in export revenues.

Michelle O'Neill (center) with the delegates from SABIT's PMT program on energy efficiency. (Photo credit ITA)

Michelle O’Neill (center) with the delegates from SABIT’s PMT program on energy efficiency. (Photo credit ITA)

This Fall, SABIT launched the new U.S.-Russia Presidential Management Training Exchange Program (PMT) by hosting two delegations Russian professionals in the information technology and energy efficiency sectors for three weeks.  PMT aims to provide unique professional development and business networking opportunities that help facilitate business relationships, economic development, and international trade.

PMT is being implemented under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, which is dedicated to identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.  The PMT exchange program was created as a result of an agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States in the Area of Training of Management Personnel which was signed by former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina in November 2010.

In October 2011, PMT’s Russian energy efficiency group met with Michelle O’Neill, Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade and U.S. Coordinator for the Business Development & Economic Relations Working Group to celebrate the completion of the pilot phase.  During their three-week program in the United States, the 8 delegates participating in the energy efficiency group visited companies and organizations such as the Alliance to Save Energy, Greater Philadelphia Clean Cities and Philadelphia Electric Company, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Johnson Controls, Bentley Systems, U.S.-Russia Business Council, and the World Green Energy Symposium, where delegate Ivan Bragin spoke about the state of the green energy sector in Russia. The participants also had a chance to mingle with Michael Nutter, the Mayor of Philadelphia, at the symposium’s opening night reception, where the mayor highlighted Philadelphia’s green initiatives.

The 13 delegates who participated in the information technology group met with U.S. companies and organizations such as the Software & Information Industry Association, New Jersey Institute of Technology-Enterprise Development Center, the social gaming company CrowdStar, and the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Delegates also attended training seminars on innovation management and software project management.

For the second phase of PMT, SABIT plans to send the first group of American businesspeople to Yekaterinburg, Russia this spring.  Given the success of the pilot trainings, plans for future exchanges with Russia are under discussion.

U.S. companies interested in hosting SABIT’s international delegations may contact the SABIT office at 202-482-0073 or


Russia’s WTO Accession: What it Means for the United States

December 16, 2011

Justin Hoffmann and Rebecca Gudicello are International Economists in the Office of Trade Policy Analysis.

Map of Russia in Blue

Image © Frank Ramspott/

During today’s session of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Eighth Ministerial Conference, trade Ministers approved the terms of Russia’s accession and formally invited Russia to join the WTO as its 155th Member. As the largest economy outside of the WTO, not only is today’s formal invitation the culmination of Russia’s 18-year effort to join the WTO, but it is also a meaningful occasion for us and our colleagues who have spent significant portions of our careers working to ensure that Russia’s WTO membership produces the maximum benefit for U.S. companies, farms, and workers.

We have all worked hard to ensure that Russia’s WTO membership will directly benefit U.S. economic interests by providing new market access opportunities for U.S.-produced goods and services. Additionally, integrating Russia into a rule-based trading system and providing the means to enforce those rules will further strengthen U.S. commercial interests in Russia.

To highlight the benefits of Russia’s WTO accession, ITA has produced a series of Sector Opportunity Reports outlining the tariff and non-tariff commitments Russia is undertaking in key U.S. export sectors. In addition, ITA’s State Opportunity Reports highlight the opportunities and benefits for Russia’s WTO accession for all 50 states, their companies, farms, workers, and ranchers.

Russia is a large and growing market that offers a huge potential for U.S. exporters, and until today, it was the largest economy outside of the WTO. In 2010, Russia imported $10.7 billion in goods from the United States making it Russia’s fourth largest source of imports. Companies from across all 50 states export a wide variety of goods and services to Russia.

Russia’s accession to the WTO provides new market access for U.S. exports of goods and services. Russia is making important tariff commitments in key U.S. export sectors, such as information and communications technologies, agricultural equipment, aerospace, and chemicals. In addition, Russia has undertaken market access and national treatment commitments in a wide array of commercially significant services sectors. U.S. service suppliers will benefit, in particular, from more open access in infrastructure services sectors such as telecommunications (including satellite services), computer and related services, express delivery, distribution, financial services, and audio-visual services.

By joining the WTO, Russia also has agreed to abide by WTO rules, including specific commitments on issues such as non-discrimination, standards, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and the protection of intellectual property rights. The United States will also have access to WTO mechanisms, including dispute resolution, to ensure Russia’s compliance with international trade rules and protect U.S. commercial interests.

For U.S. industry to realize the full benefits of Russia’s WTO accession, the Russian parliament must ratify its accession package enabling Russia to formally join the WTO (which is expected to occur during the first half of 2012) and the United States must establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia.

For additional information about Russia’s WTO Accession, please visit ITA’s Russia WTO Accession page and USTR’s website.


Featured Trade Event: U.S. Automotive Parts and Components Trade Mission to Russia

November 1, 2011

April 22–28, 2012
U.S. Automotive Parts and Components Trade Mission to Russia
Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Samara, Russia

Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow. (© Jupiterimages/Getty)

Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow. (© Jupiterimages/Getty)

This mission is designed to provide an opportunity for a diverse cross-section of U.S. companies that sell automotive goods and services to explore Russia’s rapidly expanding car and truck assembly market. It will be led by Michelle O’Neill, deputy under secretary of commerce for international trade.

With more than140 million consumers and a growing middle class, Russia remains one of the most promising markets for U.S. exporters. Sales of cars and trucks in Russia are currently growing at an annual rate of 30 percent. In 2010, Russian customers purchased 1.9 million cars. This figure includes 646,000 new Russian cars and 1.25 million foreign cars, both imported and produced in Russia. Importers forecast continued rapid growth of approximately 20 percent in 2011. If these trends continue, most experts project Russia will be the largest automotive market in Europe within the next few years.

Foreign automakers have taken notice of the Russian automotive market’s potential for growth and are building assembly plants to meet the increasing demand for high-quality automobiles. General Motors, for example, has a $335 million plant in Togliatti, a joint venture with Russian auto giant AvtoVaz. Other major international producers, including Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai, have made significant investments in St. Petersburg and the surrounding Leningrad oblast, turning it into a new automotive assembly cluster.

Specific automotive sectors targeted for attention by this trade mission include components for vehicle manufacture, replacement parts, aftermarket products, repair equipment, testing equipment, and software and engineering services.

The mission will begin in Moscow and will include site visits and consultations in St. Petersburg and in two centers of the Russian auto industry, Samara and Togliatti. In addition to market briefings by industry experts, the mission program will include opportunities to meet key Russian government officials and decision-makers, one-on-one meetings with potential business partners, and site visits to automotive assembly plants and component manufacturers.

The cost to participate in the trade mission ranges from $4,952 to $5,701 per company for one representative, depending on firm size. There is a $1,220 fee for each additional company participant. The fee covers all in-country travel and one-on-one meetings, but mission participants will be responsible for travel to and from Russia, lodging, most meals, and incidentals. Applications must be received by January 6, 2012. For more information about the trade mission, visit its Web site or contact Eduard Roytberg of the USFCS, tel.: (909) 466-4138; e-mail:, or Kenneth C. Duckworth of the USFCS, tel.: +7 (812) 326-2560; e-mail:

A related webinar, “The Russian Automotive Sector—New Opportunities for U.S. Suppliers,” will be held November 17. For more information, go to


Russia Encouraged to Develop Transparent Procurement Practices

September 9, 2011

by Tracy Perrelli, an international trade specialist in The International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit.

In 2009, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev met in Moscow to help improve commercial relations between the United States and Russia. To continue this dialogue, a delegation of 13 officials from the Russian Ministry of Economic Development came to Washington, D.C., on May 18–20, 2011, to look at ways to improve government procurement regulations. Oleg Savelyev, deputy minister of economic development, led the Russian delegation.

Michelle O’Neill, deputy under secretary for international trade, encouraged the Russians to adopt government procurement principles that are more in line with the Agreement on Government Procurement of the World Trade Organization (WTO). “If done right, procurement can spur efficiency … and provide opportunities for innovative companies to grow. If done badly, it can waste resources and harm the economy.”

O’Neill attended as coordinator of the U.S.–Russia Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group, a joint U.S.–Russia body that was established because of the 2009 presidential summit. She pointed out the likely benefits to U.S. firms under a procurement system that adheres to international norms. “If Russia implements a procurement system that is more transparent, more receptive to merit, less prone to favoritism—and similar to the system with which U.S. firms are accustomed to dealing when selling to our government—this will spur more business opportunities for U.S companies.”

The meetings came at a critical time because Russia is currently considering ways to improve its government procurement system. Medvedev tasked the Ministry of Economic Development with drafting new procurement legislation by fall 2011.

The Europe division of the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit, with support from six other federal agencies, organized the program for the Russian delegation. Program topics included the principles of transparency and fair competition in the U.S. procurement system, methods of procurement, contract price determination, reverse auctions, use of e-government to enhance efficiency, and an overview of the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement.


Bringing the Russian Market to America Part 2

May 3, 2011

John McCaslin is Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service in Moscow, Russia.

Leaving Cincinnati on a Sunday  I would start the toughest part of my journey, four cities in five days.  Arrived very late Sunday night in Baltimore via Minneapolis due to cancellation of the original direct flight.  The BRIC program started first thing Monday morning at a downtown hotel and featured an excellent keynote address by our Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion, Suresh Kumar, followed by individual country plenary presentations on each of the four markets, and then concurrent breakout sessions on more specific aspects of doing business in these markets by successful US companies; a great program all in all, with over 100 business participants.

As noted earlier, these types of business outreach programs are put together by our outstanding domestic field and their local partners, in this case the Baltimore U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) and the state of Maryland.  Again,  all I had to do was show up.  Baltimore is a great venue for these types of programs because of its proximity to Washington, which makes it easy to bring in senior U.S. Department of Commerce management, our Market Access and Compliance country desk officers and Commerical Service Regional Directors; quite a formidable array of U.S. government resources all brought together to support our US business clients in a very practical and informative format.

As usual, the local USEAC set up meetings for me at the hotel with individual local companies interested in the Russian market, so after my presentation to the larger group and before hopping on a plane for my next city, I met with two local firms.  One company, an experienced manufacturer and distributor of dental products with lots of international sales, was already established in Russia and was coming to me for advice on a problem with their exclusive Russian distributor.  This is a pretty typical case for many US firms that come our way and we always try to do our best to help them out.  The issue involved counterfeit products of the US company showing up in Russia, which was hurting legitimate sales.  Intellectual property rights (IPR) is a big issue in Russia and one in which we are well equipped to assist, since we have a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Attache that sits in our FCS office in Moscow and a Russian IP attorney on staff.  I put the US firm in touch with our IPR staff in Moscow along with our Commercial Specialist who covers the medical sector, so they will be in good hands.

The second company was a well established manufacturer from Pennsylvania that sold duct work accessories into the HVAC sector in a number of foreign markets.  They have had some passive export sales to Russia, but really wanted to do much more.  I had a feeling we could really help this company so that day I put them in touch with our Moscow Commercial Specialist who covers this sector in order to start a dialogue and also looped in our Pittsburgh USEAC, which has worked with this company in the past.  Looking ahead to possible trade promotion opportunities, I let this firm know about a proposed energy efficiency trade mission to Russia later this year that the US Dept of Energy is planning with support from our agency.  This could be an interesting market entry vehicle for the company since the mission would be designed to bring Russian firms to the US and then take US firms to Russia in order consummate in-depth, long lasting business relationships.

Next stop Cleveland.


Bringing the Russian Market to America

April 30, 2011

John McCaslin is Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs for the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service in Moscow, Russia.

Left Moscow at the end of April on a long planned six city trek across America to promote the Russian market to US business in a series of group programs and individual meetings.    I built the trip around my last stop, San Francisco, where we will have our annual European Senior Commercial Officer conference the week of May 8.  During the course of my travels I expect to make contact with over three hundred companies and generate significant new business for CS Russia.

First stop Cincinnati.  Whenever I travel around the US I am always impressed with the value of our domestic network and their state and local partners.  My April 28-29 programs in Cincinnati were no exception.

Our local U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Cincinnati and their partner, the European-American Chamber of Commerce, put together a first-class full-day program that included participation of the Russian Trade Representation from Washington, calls on  local exporters, a tour of the DHL international shipping facility and a group program hosted by a major local CS Russia client that included 50 local companies interested in doing business in Russia. The CS Russia client was a machine tool manufacturer that participated in our Aerospace Supply Chain Trade Mission to Russia last October, from which they have already generated several million dollars in sales. So they offered a great testimonial on CS services and how to do business in Russia.  We finished the day with a private VIP dinner hosted by GE at their manufacturing facility where we dined literally in the shadow of a huge GE 90 engine, the most powerful commercial aircraft engine in the world.

All I had to do was show up and give my presentation.

The next day was a series of individual meetings with five local companies hosted by our Cincinnati USEAC.  Part of my standard pitch on opportunities in Russia is that it is a challenging market with excellent prospects in selected sectors, but it is not for everyone.  True to form, of the five companies I met with and counseled, I advised two that they should look elsewhere.  Both were first-time exporters and I explained that the best use of their limited resources at this point in time would be more accessible markets closer to home.  Our Cincinnati USEAC will work closely to help make these clients export ready and identify the most promising markets in the region for them.  The other three, a retail design firm, airplane propeller manufacturer and a large medical device company, all with good international experience, will be working with our CS Russia team soon.

Next stop Baltimore.