Russia’s trade with Middle East and North Africa booming

The exodus of Western firms could further boost Moscow’s economic cooperation with the region, Maksim Reshetnikov has said

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Trade turnover between Russia and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been steadily growing and has now reached $95 billion, according to Economic Development Minister Maksim Reshetnikov, according to RT News

Speaking at the Annual Investment Meeting in Abu Dhabi this week, Reshetnikov stated that Russia was ready to develop partnerships both on a bilateral basis and within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, noting that a solid base has already been created for such cooperation.

“Over the past five years, Russia’s trade with the MENA countries has grown by 83%. Our partners understand that the vacated niches in the Russian market are new opportunities for their business,” the minister pointed out.

In March, the head of the Department for Economic Cooperation at Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Dmitry Birichevsky, said that Moscow would not withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO), despite attempts by a number of states to squeeze it out. He stressed that Russia’s likeminded key partners were Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

READ MORE: Russia ramps up fertilizer supply to Asia and Africa

Economic cooperation with those regions has been on the rise in the light of Western sanctions on Russia. In particular, Moscow has been shifting its energy supplies to these markets. Russian officials have repeatedly stated that businesses from ‘friendly’ states have great prospects in the country and could fill the void left by Western companies. Russia and its partners have been gradually moving away from the US dollar and euro in bilateral trade in favor of increasingly using their national currencies in settlements.

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