The system of the state regulation of Russia's foreign trade is largely "Soviet-style" and works to discourage rather than encourage trade. That was the core message that came across on January 30 at the international round-table discussion dedicated to the problems of supporting industrial exports, and was voiced by German Gref, Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade. The round table discussion was organized by Vneshekonombank and the International Union of Insurers, Credits and Investments (the Bern Union). Vneshekonombank was supposed to become the major tool of supporting Russian exports in the government's hands.
The Bern Union unites export-supporting institutions in 42 countries of the world. That is why head of Vneshekonombank Andrey Chernukhin and President of the Bern Union Vivian Brown co-chaired the meeting. In his speech Brown called on Russia to establish an agency or even a number of agencies to support exports. Russian companies often use outdated technologies and old facilities. But one should concede that an industry's competitiveness depends not only on its equipment, but also on trade conditions. According to Gref, the state's primary task in this field is obtaining "economic transparence", which means that the movement of products, services, capital and workforce across frontiers should be less expensive. For that, three kinds of tariff regulation should be changed: foreign currency, tax and customs regulation. According to Gref, exporters should collect such a large number of documents to get added-value tax repaid to them that 180 days are a time insufficient for that, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported.