Legislation, Visas and Contacts at the 5th German-Russian Business Talks

Bonn. To meet new and old business partners, learn about the changes in Russian legislation and visa formalities or become inspired by the success of German Programme participants on the Russian market – these were some of the reasons why 150 guests met at the Russian Consulate General in Bonn on 21 June 2013. Despite the large number of participants, the atmosphere was relaxed and informal throughout, as usual. The Consulate General of the Russian Federation, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH hosted the event.

They came to Bonn for various reasons: some hoping to find new sources of business; some confident that they would receive useful first-hand information for their work; others again, to meet long-standing acquaintances and colleagues and exchange news and experiences on a mutual topic  German-Russian cooperation.

The participants listened attentively to Prof Rainer Wedde from the law firm Beiten Burkhard Rechtsanwälte as he gave a talk on the “comprehensive reform of the Russian Civil Code and Russia’s accession to the WTO – consequences for German companies in Russia“. He went into detail on some particularly relevant amendments to Russian legislation which have come into force since Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation WTO in August 2012. These changes: the abolition of certain corporate forms and the transformation of others, contract law, guarantees, collateral for loans, liability, etc., have a direct effect on the work of German companies, both in Russia and in their function as cooperation partners. GIZ expert Dr Wladislaw Below provided information on the current status of negotiations on the simplification of visa rules between the EU and Russia. Stefan Schmidt from Euler Hermes Kreditversicherung AG gave an overview of credit guarantees for small and medium-sized companies. In the panel discussion afterwards, the German entrepreneurs Andreas Haustein and Marco Vollrath described the progress they were able to make on the Russian market within the scope of the programme “Fit for Business with Russia”.

In the afternoon, the guests met at a contact exchange. A Russian group that had completed training at the German Management Academy of Lower Saxony (DMAN) came to Bonn specifically for this exchange. Entrepreneurs from both countries sat opposite each other at tables for two and discussed possible cooperation. Some of them were interested in logistics, others, e.g. Juri Martjanow from Kemerovo, planned importing German equipment and technologies. Martjanow wants to follow up on seven of the twelve contacts made during the exchange, which he finds particularly promising. It was not without reason that the Russian business people described the cooperation exchange as a highlight of their training. The entrepreneurs continued to move from table to table long past the scheduled time, and it took some persuading before they went to the neighbouring building. Then the reception organised by the Consulate General and BMWi showed its magnetic effect: planning future business while enjoying the delicacies of Russian cuisine with musical accompaniment simply was a pleasure.