Dutch – Russian Business Community Convene at NRCH’s Annual New Year’s Meeting
Pictured H.E. Alexander Shulging, Ambassador of Russia.
By Sheila Turabaz.
It has become an annual tradition for the Dutch – Russian network to convene at the New Year’s Meeting organized by the Netherlands – Russian Council for Trade Promotion (NRCH) in The Hague. This year the event was jointly organized by NRCH, the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) and the Royal Association MKB Nederland for Dutch small and medium – sized companies and took place on Friday 3 February at the headquarters of VNO-NCW.
The event was well attended by Dutch and Russian entrepreneurs, representatives of multinationals and the public sector. During the annual meeting, a retrospective of the past year was given along with an economic forecast for 2017.
Mr. Geert Greving, Vice-Chairman of the NRCH hosted the meeting. In his welcome address, Mr. Greving emphasized that the Council’s target is to connect the medium and small sized entrepreneurs with large enterprises and subsequently inform the government to create and maintain a consistent policy with Russia regardless of the on-going EU sanctions against Russia. Furthermore, he also mentioned that these sanctions have had serious economic consequences and that it has affected the Netherlands in particular.
Mr. Greving stressed the complexity of the current international economic environment in which the Netherlands faces fierce competition from the U.S. and China in particular. According to Mr. Greving, pragmatism is key despite the current sanctions.
H.E. Ms. Renée Jones-Bos, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Russian Federation followed with a speech, in which she mentioned the longstanding historical ties between the Netherlands and Russia, the mutual interests both countries share, the current geopolitical situation and lastly, trends and developments in business relations. According to Ms. Jones-Bos, « the worst is behind » and the Russian economy is showing careful signs of recovery.
Structural reforms are necessary to make the Russian economy grow again. Despite the imposed economic sanctions that have affected the bilateral trade relations, the tide seems to be turning as cautious growth took place last year. During her speech Ms. Jones-Bos also mentioned the active involvement of the embassy in Moscow in supporting Dutch businesses and emphasized the importance of these channels even in times of different political opinions.
H.E. Mr. Alexander Shulgin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Netherlands mentioned that the unfavourable international economic environment has affected the Russian economy. However, the Russian government is proactive in structural reforms and modernizing the Russian economy.
Mr. Shulgin also injected some positivity and mentioned that Russia is becoming the most important exporter in agricultural products.
Ms. Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink, President of the FME-CMW (the largest employers’ organization in the technology industry) and Mr. Jerke Verschoor, Director of the Nuffic Neso Russia also spoke (briefly) about Dutch – Russian business relations.
Mr. Greving concluded the meeting and a networking reception followed afterwards.