Among the key trends that gained traction over the past year I would like to highlight the crystallization of Russia’s new non- commodity exports support system and EXIAR’s role in it. The necessity of developing the export potential was also reflected in the country’s social and economic policy agenda, in the development of the program aimed to accelerate the growth of the national economy and the strategy for the support of small and medium enterprises, which is to say, it became a centerpiece of major discourse, both at the regional and the federal level.
In the recent couple of years the exports structure itself has significantly changed: in 2016 the share of non-commodity exports exceeded 55% of total exports, and this is a crucial point, since it is evident that increased trade in high added value products drives the entire economy. Naturally, running a successful international business depends on a combination of factors, but the availability and accessibility of loan and insurance support and of specialized financial solutions is one of the key elements of a viable export project.
In 2016 we entered the final stage of the integration of the Russian Export Center Group, which resulted in improved business processes, increased accessibility of the products offered by the financial branch (which is especially important for SMEs) and, ultimately, we managed to achieve our rather ambitious targets on export support volumes. The figures speak for themselves: in 2016 the Agency provided support to Russian exporters for a total of more than USD 8 billion. With the support from EXIAR, over 200 companies from various sectors were able to enter new markets or strengthen their position. The Agency’s geographic reach spreads across all macroregions, with a special focus on the importer countries that have been traditionally regarded as “tough” for the Russian companies. Availability of insurance against both commercial and political risks enabled Russian businesses to feel more confident in the markets of the CIS and Asia Pacific Region, as well as in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
We have continued to develop our cooperation with foreign partners, including export credit agencies (ECAs), commercial insurance companies and international organizations, either bilateral or as part of various international associations. Most visible manifestations of such cooperation are the agreements signed with ECAs of Armenia, Indonesia and Japan, the roadshows held in Iran and the countries of the Asia Pacific Region, the expert-level seminar arranged as part of the BRICS ECA forum. In addition to creating a most supportive and efficient business environment for the Russian exporters, all this has facilitated the integration of global best practices to the Agency’s business processes.
Though the 2016 results were truly impressive, there is still much to be done. The priorities for the coming year include maintaining and increasing the volume of Russia’s non- commodity exports, continuously improving the service quality (including the introduction of online services and distance service channels), developing the service culture itself and creating a demand for Russian goods and services, and increasing the confidence of entrepreneurs in the state export support system. Since EXIAR was created in 2011, we have built lasting relations with the business community, public and non-governmental organizations, gaining a reputation of a reliable partner and strengthening our position as a key development institution.
I strongly believe that the results that the Agency team achieved in 2016 will provide a secure foundation for further development of the system of Russia’s non-commodity exports support.