OREANDA-NEWS. June 7, 2012. 12-th Russian conference of small and medium companies Small and Medium Business: Development Prospects in Russian Accession to WTO has taken place at the Nizhny Novgorod Fair.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russia, the Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly, the Russian Economic Development Ministry, the government of the Nizhny Novgorod region, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Nizhny Novgorod region were the event organizers.

The conference was timed to coincide with the Day of Russian Business (May 26), which the country had been celebrating for the past five years.

CCI of Russia President Sergey Katyrin said in his holiday greetings that domestic business a key locomotive force of innovative development played an increasingly important role in economic modernization. The attainment of the goal of Russias socioeconomic modernization depends a lot on the degree of small and medium business participation in this purposeful activity, its energy, initiatives and responsibility, the CCI of Russia stressed.

The conference aimed to analyze the current condition of small and medium business, the efficiency of federal and regional mechanisms and instruments of support to this sector, development prospects and possible problems against the backdrop of Russias entry into the WTO and the development of new mechanisms of financial support to small and medium business.

Heads of small and medium companies from Russian regions, representatives of federal, regional and municipal authorities, business unions, territorial CCI, regional entities supporting business, financial institutions, credit organizations, international organizations and the media took part in the forum.

There were five section meetings and two roundtables in the morning to discuss WTO problems and challenges to small and medium business; a constructive dialog of business and authorities is due to yield proposals on support to small and medium business and protection of its interests in order to build up competitiveness and efficiency of small and medium business on domestic and international markets in the Russian accession to the WTO.

The section, State Support to Small and Medium Business in Russia Priorities and Development Prospects under WTO Conditions on Federal, Regional and Municipal Levels, moderated by member of the CCI of Russia Board Presidium, General Director of the Russian Agency for Small and Medium Business Support Viktor Yermakov pondered the role and functions of the authorities in support to small and medium business under WTO conditions, measures, instruments, threats, possibilities, prospects and consequences for small and medium business in the Russian accession to the WTO.

Chairman of the CCI of Russia Committee for Private Enterprise Development, Small and Medium Business, VTB24 Vice-President Nadezhda Karisalova and CCI of Russia Investment Promotion Department Director Dmitry Kurochkin joined the discussion of ways and methods of improving the access of small and medium business to financial resources backing modernization, innovations, high-tech production and access to international markets at the section meeting, Mechanisms of Financial and Credit Support to Small and Medium Business under WTO Conditions.

CCI of Russia Legal Department Deputy Director Dmitry Fadeyev stressed in his speech at the section meeting, Topical Aspects of the Upgrading of Small and Medium Business Laws, that the support to small and medium business had always been a priority of the Chamber.

In his words, the CCI of Russia is actively working on a bill on the federal contract system, which has been submitted to the parliament and is being prepared for the first reading.

State Duma deputy Andrei Murga stressed that the WTO agreements covered the entire range of domestic and international trade in commodities and services, investments and fair competition.  Hence the Russian entry into the WTO is significant to absolutely all Russian and foreign companies. It is necessary to elaborate new technical regulations and unified federal standards.

An exhibition Business Support Infrastructure. Innovative and Export-Oriented Small and Medium Companies was held in the lobby of the Business Exhibition Center.

A plenary meeting was held in the afternoon.

CCI of Russia Vice-President Georgy Petrov opened the plenary meeting and chaired its first part. While greeting the audience, he noted that more than 500 delegates from 20 regions of the Russian Federation were taking part in the forum. The conference has become a floor for Russian business discussions of the most pressing problems and, what is the most important, for conveying these problems to the national administration.

Then Georgy Petrov called on the next speaker, Nizhny Novgorod Governor Valery Shantsev. The entry into the WTO is truly a rather complex problem, the Nizhny Novgorod governor said. It includes plenty of tasks, which may be solved only with joint efforts of all the interested sides: federal agencies, federal authorities, business support entities and the business community.

Valery Shantsev analyzed the development of small and medium business in the Nizhny Novgorod region and dwelt on the tasks that needed the soonest solution. It is necessary to concentrate on the elaboration and introduction of unified standards and regulations, and services provided to small and medium business and infrastructural entities in the fulfillment of regional programs of the development and support of small business.

It would be expedient to initiate the opening of personnel training centers, which will provide consultations and train small and medium business employees in the traditional period. The training should focus on language studies, world economics, international commercial law, international labor market, international finance, patents and so on. It is also necessary to plan comprehensive measures, which will ensure the efficient development of regional infrastructure supporting export-oriented competitive small and medium businesses and financial backing. Legislators should also enact support to small and medium business in invention and innovative development sectors, i.e. compensate for patent and business plan expenditures and ensure the participation of authorities and municipalities in the authorized capital of small innovative companies.

Greetings from Federal Assembly Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko and Presidential Representative to the Volga Federal District Mikhail Babich were read out by Federation Council member Valery Shnyakin and Deputy Presidential Representative to the Volga Federal District Galina Izotova.

Viktor Yermakov summarized problems indicated by businessmen at the section State Support to Small and Medium Business in Russia Priorities and Development Prospects under WTO Conditions on Federal, Regional and Municipal Levels.

CCI of Russia Vice-President Georgy Petrov said that the CCI had been holding a program of small and medium business internationalization for four years. Many territorial chambers took part in the program when the European Commission allotted funds for providing information about assistance given to regional businesses in their access to foreign markets. The program will continue, and the European Union will help Russian small and medium business to come to the European market.

It will take rather long to realize the consequences of the political act of the Russian accession to the WTO. This is not the question of how good or bad WTO membership is; a different question should be asked whether us the business community and the government use the opportunities opened by WTO membership to any economy. For making it an advantage, the dialog between business and the authorities must be permanent and interactive.

Within a brief period of time, the CCI of Russia held a series of conferences for Russian businessmen in Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Krasnodar, Vologda, Arkhangelsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Voronezh, Smolensk and Kazan to explain WTO admission terms. There were also webinars involving specialists of the Economic Development Ministry and focused on particular branches.

It will be difficult for business to maintain the dialog with the authorities and to spell out its problems and concerns without a broad network, which is primarily made of territorial chambers.

In conclusion the CCI of Russia Vice-President wished small and medium business heads to work normality, to increase their competitiveness, to improve their quality and to rely on chambers of commerce and industry in doing that.

Valery Shantsev and Georgy Petrov answered numerous questions of the media.

Plenty of additions were proposed to the conference resolution at sections and roundtables, so the document received basic approval.

After being upgraded, the final document of the conference will be sent to the Russian Presidential Administration, the Russian Government, the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly, and Russian ministries and departments and will be posted on the Internet portal of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russia.