CBI: Trade trip to Russia hailed a success
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Trade trip to Russia hailed a success

CBI/UKTI-organised visit pays dividends for mid-sized businesses

Keith Attwood, the e2v CEO, and Mark Ridgway, the Group Rhodes MD, at the Kirovsky Zavod tractor factoryKeith Attwood, the e2v CEO, and Mark Ridgway, the Group Rhodes MD, at the Kirovsky Zavod tractor factory

A trade mission to Russia, on which the CBI director-general, John Cridland, and Lord Green, the trade minister, accompanied 25 mid-sized UK firms looking to boost commercial links, has been hailed a success.

On the visit, which focused on mid-sized businesses, firms in industries ranging from manufacturing and construction to design and technology to agriculture visited the UK’s 11th biggest market – also one of the fastest-growing destinations for UK exports.

Delegates spelled out the benefits of the trip, with emphasis on the business contacts made in Russia and the importance of the country as an export destination.

John Cridland, the CBI director-general, said:

“This mission has proved a great success, with MSBs from a wide range of sectors finding out the information and making the commercial contacts they need to increase trade links with Russia.

“These companies have the real potential to boost our exports to fast-growing markets, so missions like this where firms have the opportunity to meet key decision-makers in business and government help make this a reality.”

Daniel Dayan, the CEO of Fiberweb, said:

“The CBI/UKTI trade mission created opportunities to talk to people I would never normally be able to access and my customers really appreciated the invitation I could extend to the business networking reception at the British Ambassador’s residence. It allowed us to punch above our weight and to learn about an exciting market.”

Mark Ridgway, the MD of Group Rhodes, said:

“As a manufacturer of special machinery for the aerospace sector we have been focusing our export drive on China and India and had very much neglected Russia. This UKTI/CBI led visit to Moscow and St Petersburg has reopened my eyes to the potential of the Russian market and dispelled a number of generally held myths on the difficulties of market entry.”

Chris Emes, the Mechatherm International MD, said:

“We joined the mission to extend our existing relationship with our longstanding client Rusal and look at our new recycling aluminium projects. To expand our business we need a bigger banking facility. We joined the CBI because they are focussing on helping SMEs get better access to financial facilities.”

Keith Attwood, the e2v CEO, said:

“Russia has a big focus on science and technology and is pushing ahead with research and innovation. There is lots of scope for e2v to collaborate and be involved with Russian partners. We are engaged with the space industry, and involved in a number of projects that will lead to greater knowledge about the origins of our universe.”

Slideshow: Russia visit

The companies represented on the visit also included architects PRP, interior fit-out and design companies Herman Miller and Mivan, and technology services firm Comtek Network Systems.

The programme was tailored to mid-sized companies, providing them with opportunities to find out information and insights to help firms their size do business in Russia, and to meet potential customers in both Moscow and St Petersburg. Companies on the trade mission also visited the Kirovsky Zavod factory to see the large-scale production of tractors.

Engagement with representatives from VTB Arena Park, one of the largest development projects in Europe, led to positive commercial leads for businesses on the trip, as did the conversations with Russian businesses at the networking events organised by the British Embassy.

More than 600 British companies are present in Russia and UK exports to the country totalled £4.8 billion in 2011.

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