Russia and Saudi Arabia to Create Council Uniting Large Businesses – Investment Fund

OSAKA (Sputnik) – Russia and Saudi Arabia will soon create an economic council that will unite the largest businesses of the two countries, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) CEO Kirill Dmitriev told reporters on Saturday.

“It is planned to create an economic council between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which will unite the most influential businessmen from the Russian side and the Saudi side to implement major joint projects … The council will be created in the shortest possible time,” he said.

The creation of such a council will allow to boost joint investments and implement mutual projects, Dmitriev stressed.

According to Dmitriev, the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on the sidelines of the G20 summit was very positive. The two leaders discussed joint projects, including in the investment sphere, he noted.

“Saudi Arabia, jointly with the RDIF, has invested $3.9 billion in Russia. This is one of our largest partners. In the framework of the planned visit to Saudi Arabia, new deals are expected for investment both in Russia and in Saudi Arabia,” Dmitriev added.

In July 2015, the RDIF and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) signed a partnership agreement to jointly invest in projects in Russia, including in infrastructure and agriculture. Under the agreement, the Saudi fund’s share of the investment will amount to $10 billion, and part of this sum has already been invested.

The RDIF, the Saudi Public Investment Fund and Saudi Aramco are now holding talks on the Saudi oil company’s purchase of a stake in Russian tech holding Rusnano.

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The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and the Russian Union of Tourism Industry signed an agreement on cooperation in Tokyo on Tuesday which stipulates the organization in the next two years of joint events for developing tourism and increasing tourism flows between the two countries, TASS reported from the site.

“Thanks to this agreement we will be able to better explore the Russian market, which, in turn, will lead to the development of tourism exchanges between our countries, as well as friendship and cooperation. We will exert every effort to reach the set goal to increase the tourism flow from Russia to 200,000 people by 2023,” JNTO President Satoshi Seino said at the signing ceremony.

President of the Russian Union of Tourism Industry Sergei Shpilko reiterated, for his part, that today Japan is implementing the plan to increase the number of trips of Japanese tourists to Russia. “We are working with many countries, but none of them has a specific plan of sending tourists to Russia, so we are obliged for our part to do all that is possible to implement this plan,” Shpilko added.

In January 2017, Japan’s authorities eased the regime of issuing visas to Russian citizens in compliance with the agreement dedicated to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in December 2016. As a result, the number of tourists from Russia who visited Japan increased by 40.8% in 2017 when compared to 2016 and stood at more than 77,000 people. The number of Japanese tourists in Russia exceeded 100,000 in the same time frame.

In October last year the Japanese side also introduced a new easy visa regime for Russian tourists who visit the country within organized groups under package tours. In 2018, the number of Russian tourists who entered Japan grew by 22.7% and stood at 94,800, while 120,000 Japanese citizens visited Russia in the same time frame. After a meeting with Putin in January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that Japan and Russia intend to double the joint tourism flow by 2023, up to 400,000 people.