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Gaidar Forum participants explore possibilities of creating a free trade zone in Europe

The panel discussion, Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok: Dream or Reality?, was held on January 13, the second day of the Gaidar Forum 2017 Russia and the World: Setting Priorities.
Session was attended by Director of the EDB Center for Integration Studies Yevgeny Vinokurov; Executive Chairman of the Board of the East Office of Finnish Industries and former Prime Minister of Finland (1991-1995) Esko Aho; President of the European Forum Alpbach and former European Commissioner for Agriculture and Fisheries (1995-2004) Franz Fischler; President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin; General Director of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pavel Shinskiy; Dean of the RANEPA Graduate School of Corporate Management Sergei Kalendzhyan; and Deputy Director of the Department of Europe and Americas at the Ministry of Economic Development Sergei Krasilnikov.

The discussion, moderated by Director General of the International Trade and Integration Research Center Vladimir Salamatov, focused on the possibility of establishing a free trade area in Europe.

The speakers analyzed the current situation in the commercial space of Russia and the EU, focusing on the loss of profits because of the sanctions, and gave assumptions about potential positive changes in the economy.

“The current processes have very seriously changed the situation on the market,” the moderator said opening the discussion. For instance, the counter-sanctions Russian introduced has had positive impact on the domestic agriculture. “Russia has become a leader in the world grain exports. We have significantly expanded our exports: corn, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil, and many other crops,” he continued, stressing the positive aspects. In addition, due to economic constraints, Russia learned to produce and sell products it had imported before. “While before, we always bought eggs for the production of broiler chickens in France, today we have exported a modest 2.5 million worth of genetically effective eggs,” the expert added.