Krasnodar, 11 September – Yug Times. Johan Vanderplaetse, Chairman of the European Business Association (EBA) in Russia, has lived in Russia for more than twenty years – so it is no wonder that sometimes he feels himself more Russian than Belgian. He confesses that the most important thing is that he feels himself very comfortably in this country. At the same time, he believes that it is much more interesting for him as a businessman to work in Russia than in any other country. At the same time, foreign businesses face many problems when operating in this country – and the EBA has been called upon to try to resolve them.
Q.: What are the main activity directions of the EBA?
A.: Our main activity is aimed at improvement of business conditions in Russia and strengthening of economic integration between the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union. The list of our activities also includes such issues as imports substitution, localisation of businesses, special investment contracts, migration law, restrictions in the participation in governmental purchases, etc. Another important issue is the new law on waste recycling, enforced in 2015. Our Association continues to work together with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology as regards implementation of this law – in particular, by participating in discussions of ecological fee rates for various product groups.
Q.: How actively does the Association participate in the economic integration between Russia and the EU?
A.: This is one of our key activity directions. Notwithstanding the complicated geopolitical situation, the European companies – EBA members are very much interested to continue working without political obstacles. At our annual meetings, we try to announce this premise to the European Commission, the European Parliament, and other governmental institutions. Regretfully, Russian and Western politicians pay little attention to economic imperatives – they continue to prefer political interests. In its turn, the business circles should learn to work under conditions of a new economic reality, and to change their investment strategy.
I hope that our Association will be able to promote a dialogue that, unfortunately, has become a rare phenomenon nowadays.
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