SPIEF — St. Petersburg in the heart of the action
BY PEPE ESCOBAR on JUNE 20, 2015
The dogs of western fear and sanctions bark, while the Eurasian caravan passes.
And no caravanserai could possibly compete with the 19th edition of the St. Peters-burg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Thousands of global business leaders – including Europeans, but not Americans; after all, President Putin is “the new Hitler” – representing over 1,000 international companies/corporations, including the CEOs of BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, hit town in style.
Fascinating panels all around – including discussions on the BRICs; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); the New Silk Road(s); the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU); and of course the theme of all themes, “The Making of the Asia-Pacific Century: Rebalancing East,” with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Predictably, there’s been plenty of anticipation regarding the BRICs New Development Bank, with big news coming next month at the BRICs summit in Ufa. Brazilian Paulo Nogueira Batista, the new vice-president of the bank, looks forward to the first meeting of the governors.
And on another key theme — bypassing the US dollar — it was up to Anatoliy Aksa-kov, chairman of the Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Innovative Development and Entrepreneurship, to cut to the chase; “We need to transition to conducting mutual settlements in national currencies, and we believe that all the conditions are already in place for this.”
The action was not only rhetorical. Here’s just a fraction of the deals clinched at SPIEF. Predictably, it’s been a Pipelineistan show all around.
– The pipes for the Turkish Stream pipeline under the Black Sea will start to be laid down this month, or at latest by July, according to Russian Energy Minister Alexan-der Novak.
– Gazprom’s CEO Aleksey Miller and Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis practically clinched the extension of Turkish Stream to Greece. They are “preparing an appropriate intergovernmental memorandum,” according to Gazprom.
– Gazprom also announced it will build a new double pipeline from Russia to Germany, across the Baltic Sea, in partnership with Germany’s E.ON, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Austria’s OMV.
In another crucial Eurasian front, India signed a framework agreement to create a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union. Indian Minister of Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman was euphoric: “The two regions are big, anything done together should naturally lead to bigger outcomes.” (…)
— full text attached —