On 18 May 2021, a regular meeting took place at the Presidential Administration of Russia between civic leaders and S.V. Lukash, who is Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Experts Directorate, Russian G20 Sherpa, and Chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee to Facilitate Russia’s Participation in the G20. The meeting focused on the agenda of the 2021 G20, which this year is under the Italian presidency.
The event was attended by representatives of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia, other relevant ministries and departments, as well as Russia’s official delegations in G20 Engagement Groups. These include: Business community (B20), Civil Society (C20), Labour Unions (L20), Scientists (S20), Think tanks (T20), Urban cities (U20), Women (W20) and Youth (Y20).
The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) traditionally coordinates the participation of domestic business in the B20. The RSPP was represented at the meeting by Sergei Krasilnikov, Vice President and Managing Director of the International Bilateral Cooperation Directorate, Sergei Mikhnevich, Managing Director of the International Multilateral Cooperation and Integration Directorate, and Anna Gubina, a leading expert in the same directorate.
During the meeting, there was a comprehensive discussion of the priorities and prospects of cooperation within the G20 on a variety of issues. The RSPP briefed the Russian Sherpa and other colleagues on the results achieved by the B20, and its specific goals.
Svetlana Lukash highlighted the importance of the B20 as the oldest and most dynamic public negotiating forum, and its practical impact on shaping the outcome of the G20's work as a whole. She identified the digital economy, climate change, health care, as well as the empowerment of women as the most pressing issues on the G20 agenda this year.
Sergey Mikhnevich spoke about the work carried out by the RSPP within the B20. He noted that the B20 recommendations highlight the need for a country-specific approach as regards the development of certain markets, and also underline that there is no place for protectionist actions or unilateralism in trade policy, especially in relation to vaccines, medical products or agricultural products.
The recommendations focus particularly on the development of suitable and balanced approaches to tackle climate change. Unilateral measures aimed at fighting climate change should therefore not result in arbitrary and unjustified discrimination or disguised restrictions on international trade. The recommendations also highlighted the need not only to reform the WTO, but also to fully restore the functioning of the WTO dispute settlement body, as well as the importance of free-trade areas as an element of the multilateral trading system.
Sergei Krasilnikov announced that the B20 Regional Consultative Forum will be held during the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, and the subject matter for discussion will be “Cooperation under the B20 to Overcome the Consequences of the Coronavirus Crisis”. The forum is due to be held on 3 June 2021, from 11:00 to 12:15.
During the forum, heads of major companies and business associations, heads of B20 Target Groups, representatives of G20 authorities and heads of international organisations will discuss draft B20 recommendations for G20 leaders relating to trade and investment, energy and resources, education and labour markets. Sergei Krasilnikov invited Svetlana Lukash to speak at the event.
Marat Berdyev, Deputy Director of the Economic Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Russian G20 Sous-Sherpa, Executive Secretary of the Interdepartmental Committee to Facilitate Russia’s Participation in the G20, noted the effective cooperation between the G20 and B20, and stressed the significant role that the RSPP played in this process. Major international events held on a regular basis by the RSPP under the auspices of the B20, such as the Regional Consultative Forum, were welcomed.