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MENAFN Press - 28/11/2012

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(MENAFN Press) Sharjah, 27 Nov 2012:

Russian investment houses, energy firms and infrastructure development companies that were traditionally active in European and other markets are now increasingly looking at alternative investment destinations and the GCC figures prominently on their list.

On the other hand, the recent decision by Russia to exempt investment bodies and sovereign wealth funds from the UAE from taxation is set to open practically unlimited vistas to UAE businessmen in Russia. Several other GCC countries, including Qatar, have similar treaties with Russia.

And, an upcoming trade event in Sharjah -Russia-GCC Business Forum - is set to bring Russian investors and businesses face to face with their GCC counterparts on a single platform and play a key role in expanding the existing trade, economic and investment channels.

"We are offering a win-win situation for both the parties with the business forum. What Russian businesses and investors can expect in the GCC is a fast-growing economy that is following an expansive fiscal policy, offering an assortment of investment opportunities and joint venture avenues, while strengthening partnership with a BRICS nation would be a strategic move for Gulf investors," said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah, which is launching the Russia-GCC Business Forum from December 17 to 19, 2012.

In recent past, while big-ticket Russia-GCC joint ventures were mostly in oil & gas, port, real estate and financial sectors, bilateral trade has been flourishing in precious and semi-precious stones and metals, base metals, vehicles, aircraft, vessels, transport equipment, machinery, and electrical & electronics equipment.

Among the recent major deals involving GCC and Russia firms, the US 630 million Rosneft-Crescent gas venture in Sharjah and Gulftainer's US500 million fund with Russian partners and a US 275 million deal to co-develop and operate Russia's Baltic port of Ust-Luga were the prominent ones.

Stressing the importance the Russia-GCC Business Forum is expected to achieve in business circles, both Crescent Petroleum and Gulftainer are supporting it as Platinum sponsors.

The six-nation GCC countries, which are sitting atop 40 per cent of the world's proven oil deposits and a combined oil income of US625 billion in 2011, are keenly looking at Russia.

"A prominent member of the BRICS group, Russia has the world's ninth largest economy, and has an abundance of natural gas, oil, coal and precious metals. Russia will be a very attractive market for Gulf investors and firms with skills and experience in hospitality, property, aviation and infrastructure development," said Mr Midfa.

Russians too have found the GCC market attractive and have remained one of the main investors into the region. In the UAE itself, they have invested over US600 million into real estate and are now in fifth place in the world in terms of investments, according to the Russian Embassy figures.

"Russia-GCC Business Forum will aim to showcase participants' potential by providing them with best exposure and enhanced visibility to prospective partners who will include institutional investors, private financiers, government officials, project promoters and business owners. The forum will have a packed three-day schedule and see the who's who of GCC and Russian business in attendance.

The sessions at the forum will cover sectors such as banking & finance, carbon management & trading, construction, corporate services, free trade & industrial zones, infrastructure, IT, logistics, manufacturing, mining, petrochemicals, real estate & property development, telecommunications, tourism & hospitality and transportation infrastructure.

About The GCC-Russia Business Forum
The GCC-Russia Business Forum will be an effective and prestigious platform that aims to bring together leading institutional investors, private financiers, high-profile government officials, and assets & business owners from across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Russia. It will be held at Expo Centre Sharjah from December 17 to 19, 2012, in association with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Russian Business Council and the Russian-Arab Business Council.


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