Russian trade with Gulf countries soars – Lavrov

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Turnover has been growing despite geopolitical tensions, the foreign minister has said

Trade turnover between Russia and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) grew more than 6% over the past year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday. The GCC is an intergovernmental and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

According to Lavrov, Russia and the GCC have managed to maintain “positive dynamics in mutual trade” despite “difficult geopolitical conditions.”

At the end of last year, trade turnover between Russia and [GCC] countries increased by more than 6% compared to the previous year and exceeded $11 billion. Of course, trade is not developing evenly with every country here, but the overall trends are positive,” the foreign minister said during the sixth round of talks with the representatives of the GCC in Moscow.

He praised the significant increase in bilateral trade over the 12 years of the Russia-GCC cooperation format, noting that the total trade turnover between the parties was only $3.7 billion in 2011.

Lavrov noted that Russia and the Gulf countries “have all the necessary mechanisms to successfully address the common challenges we face, to promote mutually beneficial partnership, and to put it on a systematic strategic basis.”

The foreign minister added that the parties are taking steps to expand economic ties, including working on alternate payment mechanisms which would bypass the US dollar.

Lavrov also said that Russia is ready to meet the demand for its products from its Arab partners and boost exports if necessary, despite the difficulties posed by the Ukraine-related Western sanctions on Russia.

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