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UK firms to boost trade with Russia

Companies in the UK have been advised to consider tapping into opportunities in the Russian market.

According to the British government, trade between the two countries is likely to increase in the next few years.

Business secretary Vince Cable has therefore suggested British firms look into how they can benefit from this development.

"Britain's trade with Russia is rapidly expanding and the opportunities will only continue to grow as its economy opens up further to trade and investment," he commented.

"We look forward to working closely with Russia to further develop new opportunities, delivering real economic results for both countries."

Mr Cable noted that a number of important steps in the last few years have made it easier for companies in the UK to do business in Russia, such as the country's accession to the World Trade Organisation a few months ago.

The business secretary was speaking at a summit alongside Igor Shuvalov, first deputy prime minister of Russia, in which a number of major commercial announcements were made.

For instance, they confirmed that Stoneguard, a British construction company, is to establish a £60 million waste processing centre in Novosibirsk. Meanwhile, manufacturing business Tensar is to spend about £12 million on creating a plant in St Petersburg.

Mr Cable and Mr Shuvalov also confirmed that UK Export Finance and Russian body the Export Credit Agency have signed a cooperation agreement, which should further simplify trade processes between the two nations.

According to figures from the British government, exports from the UK to Russia are now worth £4.78 billion and went up by 39 per cent last year. This, it said, has made Russia one of the fastest-growing and biggest export markets for Britain.

This comes shortly after HSBC predicted that by 2026, international business activity involving firms from the UK will be 66 per cent up on the current level. Figures also showed that 93 per cent of British companies are optimistic about international trade volumes holding up over the next few years.

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