Washington’s anti-Russia policy proves to be ineffective, according to German companies doing business in Russia. But they say they are facing increased difficulties due to the sanctions regime.
“The new US sanctions are clearly aimed at providing the US with economic advantages, including at the expense of European companies,” said the chairman of the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce Matthias Schepp. He has presented the results of the 16th survey on the business climate in Russia. The survey was conducted by the chamber and the German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV).
“It's time for Russia and Europe to start looking together for a way out of the sanctions regime”, said Schepp.
Two-thirds of German companies doing business in Russia back the idea of setting up a dollar-free alternative payment system, according to Michael Harms, the executive director of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations.
“If we don’t want the US to control EU’s foreign trade, we need to think more actively in this direction,” he said.
Harms stressed that despite all the obstacles, “The potential of the Russian economy remains extremely large. If the conflict with the West finally resolves, and small and medium businesses begin to develop, Russia will quickly see a real economic upswing”.
Schepp added that “Despite the difficulties, German companies clearly demonstrate their commitment to the Russian market. They like to work in Russia, and they want to continue investing there”.
Germany’s business lobby has been criticizing EU sanctions against Russia, arguing that German companies will end up the losers since Moscow can’t be fully isolated.
Sanctions against Moscow were introduced by Brussels in 2014 over Russia’s alleged involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The punitive measures targeted Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors; along with some government officials, businessmen, and public figures.
The Kremlin responded by imposing an embargo on agricultural produce, food, and raw materials from countries that joined the sanctions on Russia. Since then, both sides have been extending the measures.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier that EU sanctions against Russia were imposed by the European nations "on direct orders" from Washington. The restrictions policy does not harm the US, while the EU suffers billions in losses, he said.