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St. Petersburg International Economic
St. Petersburg International Economic

Giampaolo Lo Conte at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) takes place annually in the eponymous Russian city since 1997. Every year, thousands of personalities of administrative and financial delegations coming from the main Russian and international companies, meet with Heads of State, Governors and Ministers of the most important countries of the globe. In fact, it is an institutional event, for the Russian government supported the establishment of the forum since its first historical edition on 18-20 June 1997. To date, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is under the management of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation, and it relies on an interparliamentary assembly made up of the member states of the Community of Independent States (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia and Ukraine). Since 2015 SPIEF Foundation changed its name to Roscongresse Foundation and Sergei Prikhodko, former Russian vice Minister, chairs the board of directors.

Thus, it appears easy to understand how relevant the St. Petersburg Forum is from a political perspective, given the diplomatic mark that characterizes its annual meetings and its media coverage. It is no coincidence that Matteo Renzi participated in the event's latest edition, in order to meet with President Vladimir Putin and bring focus on a couple of topics on the agenda, such as terroristic threats and the issue of economic sanctions in the relations between Italy and Russia.

Nevertheless, the Forum holds great value in the Russian as well as the international business and financial communities, to the point that many newspapers emphasize the agreements and potential negotiations between companies’ networks and financial and infrastructural cooperation networks. We had the pleasure to talk to Giampaolo Lo Conte, international broker living between Europe and the United States and one of the Italians participating in the latest edition of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. "I was determined to make the most of the opportunities offered by this Forum, which I had already attended in the past, meeting excellent personalities - Giampaolo Lo Conte says. He continues: "In fact, the newspapers talk about how the value of exchanges between Italy and the Russian Federation has decreased of almost 10 billion dollars in the last two years, due to political and financial issues, but I think this is a number that must be taken with a grain of salt. I’ll explain: between 2000 and 2014 the Italian export towards Russia grew by 330% and, as a result of this absolute record, a reduction of this number seemed just predictable, also considering the difficult relations Russia had in Middle-Eastern areas, which hindered the final signature of many financial agreements with countries not involved in these issues. I believe things will improve in the future."

However, the latest edition of the Forum hosted an entire area dedicated to Italian export and among the most successful commercial sectors renewable energy, electrical technology, infrastructures, start-ups and credit counseling stood out: categories which should certainly be valued in Italy as well, rather than just being used as a fruitful export resource.


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