Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting Russia at the invitation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
The one day visit will be the Prime Minister’s first visit as Prime Minister and comes as the UK seeks to forge a stronger relationship with Russia.
The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green are joined by 24 British business leaders from companies such as BP, British Airways and Rolls Royce as part of a drive to increase trade between the two countries.
At the start of his visit, the Prime Minister delivered a speech at the Moscow State University before holding talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Speaking about the trading relationship between the UK and Russia, the PM said:
“Russia is resource rich and services light. Britain is the opposite. In fact Britain is already one of the largest foreign direct investors in Russia. And Russian companies already account for about a quarter of all foreign initial public offerings on the London Stock Exchange. So we are uniquely placed to help each other grow.”
The Prime Minister added that one of the ways to achieve growth is by working together to create the best possible business environment for trade and investment, saying:
“Today Britain offers Russia the strongest business environment in Europe and the lowest barriers to entrepreneurship in the world. We want to work with you to help strengthen Russia’s business environment too so more British businesses can invest here, creating more jobs and better value products for Russian consumers and more prosperity for us all.
“We want to do everything we can now to build on this and take our trade and investment to a new level.”
There are 600 British companies already operating in Russia where economic growth, at 4%, is well above the European average. Up to June 2011, UK exports to Russia were up by 63% to over £2 billion.
The trip is set to build on that success and generate £215 million in new deals, creating almost 500 news jobs in the UK and safeguarding thousands more.
An agreement with Rosatom, Russia’s State Energy Corporation, is expected to help British companies bid for work on civil nuclear energy contracts. Together they could secure potential business worth upwards of £1 billion.