(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) A high profile Russian delegation, led by senior government officials and business leaders including a Russian tycoon, is taking part in the three-day Russia-GCC Business Forum got under way today at Expo Centre Sharjah.
The forum, inaugurated by Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman - Sharjah Media Corporation and Vice Chairman of Sharjah Petroleum Council and accompanied by Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce '&' Industry, will run until Wednesday.
It was attended by Abdulla Al Saleh, Undersecretary of UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade; Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah; and leading executives and officials from GCC and Russia.
"The forum is being held when bilateral ties between the UAE and the rest of the region and Russia are on an upswing, the latest sign of this being the launch of Air Arabia service to Rostov, the Sharjah carrier's fifth destination in Russia. The recent decision by Russia to exempt investment bodies and sovereign wealth funds from the UAE from taxation is another positive sign for trade and will open up practically unlimited vistas to UAE investors in Russia," said Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa.
Previously, UAE official investors in Russia had to pay a 20 per cent tax on stock profits, 15 per cent on profits from interest, and 20 per cent on capital gains. The treaty may prove advantageous for private entities too, which can invest through government investment funds, according to experts.
The VVIPs attending the forum from the Russian side included Vladimir Evtushenkov, Chairman of Sistema; Valery Shantsev, Governor of Nizhny Novgorod region; Ms Tatiana Gvilava, Director of the Russian-Arab Business Council; and a number of key ministers of Chechen Republic.
Apart from this, deputy ministers, department officials, an official delegation from the city of Moscow, and senior executives representing Russian establishments are also taking part in the forum.
From the GCC, the forum has participation by Dr. Ahmed Saif Belhasa, Chairman of Belhasa Group; Mrs. Fatima Al Jaber, Chairperson of Emirates Businesswomen Council; Saleh Al Aroud, Chairman, Al Aroud Group; and Dr. Azza Ibrahim Almulla, Attorney, Almulla Lawyers '&' Legal Consultants, Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq; and Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Director of SCTDA, among others.
Being the Platinum sponsors, several key executives from Crescent Petroleum and Gulftainer including Mr. Badr Jafar, President, Crescent Petroleum, and Mr. Peter Richards, Managing Director, Gulftainer Group are also addressing the forum.
"We have an impressive Russian participation that represents the cross section of its public and private sectors. During the three days of the forum, we expect to get a clear picture of investment '&' joint venture opportunities and a multitude of other business leads available from both the Russian and GCC sides. I am sure the event will play a key role in boosting the strong bilateral trade and cultural ties," said Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa.
In 2011, trade between Russia and the UAE reached US 1.5 billion, and in the first half of 2012 exceeded US 1 billion, registering a rise of 50 per cent with six more months yet to be accounted for. Forum participants also pointed out that there is a strong possibility of the figure touching the US 2 billion-mark by the end of the year.