Putin-Biden Summit May Rejuvenate US-Russia Trade Relations

If this summit truly becomes the start of a gradual deescalation in tensions which is followed by a lifting of sanctions, then this could be a catalyst for Russia-U.S. business relations.


WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 18th June, 2021) The summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden held in Geneva may infuse positive energy in US-Russia trade relations, US-based experts told Sputnik.


On Wednesday, Putin and Biden held their first in-person meeting at the lakeside Villa La Grange in Geneva. The two leaders covered a wide range of issues concerning strategic stability, cybersecurity and regional matters, including Ukraine and Afghanistan, among others. Putin and Biden signed a joint document on strategic stability and held separate press conferences after the summit.


SUMMIT "NET POSITIVE" FOR BUSINESS RELATIONS


"The summit in Geneva is a net-positive for US-Russian business relations," President of the Seattle-based Council for US-Russia Relations Derek Norberg said.


Norberg expressed regret about the difficulties and inability of businesspeople to obtain visas - a situation that discourages economic ties between the United States and Russia. As a next step after the summit, both governments should consult with their business communities about all that is needed to improve and accelerate business cooperation, he added.


"As I understand it, there is no shortage of proposals at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Ministry of Economic Development to improve business conditions in Russia to benefit all businesses," Norberg said. "Improved conditions in Russia for business generally, including legal protections, will help accelerate opportunity for US-Russian business partnerships."


Both sides should pay particular attention to such issues as restoring visa services, reopening international travel and improving conditions for entrepreneurs, which are complicated but have to be addressed in order to improve business relations, he added.


Russian Public Affairs Committee (Ru-PAC) President Hunter Cawood acknowledged the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva may effectively be the catalyst for improved partnership between the United States and Russia, but cautioned it is too soon to make any definitive judgements.

Ru-PAC President Hunter Cawood

"If this summit truly becomes the start of a gradual de-escalation in tensions that is followed by a lifting of sanctions, then this could be a catalyst for US-Russia business relations," Cawood said. "We could see a significant uptick in bilateral trade and business partnerships that will inevitably benefit both sides.


However, Eurasia Center Vice President Earl Rasmussen disagreed with the assessment as being too optimistic at present and expressed doubt about the prospects of US-Russia trade cooperation.


"Many businesses, US, European and Russian partners lost investments and markets as a result of the US-initiated sanctions," he said.


Rasmussen added that it will take time to regain lost ground and improvements will depend on the progress of follow-up actions after the summit.


FRUITFUL COOPERATION WILL ALLOW SANCTIONS REMOVAL


All experts called on both, Washington and Moscow, to develop cooperation in order to remove the element of sanctions in their relations.


"Having the two sides work more closely on a common-interest agenda does mitigate against negative behaviors or disruptive sanctions by either side. In this regard, the more fruitful the cooperation, the greater the incentive for both sides to behave well and not jeopardize the cooperative benefits and less likely are additional sanctions," Norberg said.


Ceasing the sanctions rhetoric depends heavily on US domestic policy, as both Democrats and Republicans use Russia as a political weapon against one another, Cawood also added.


"If Moscow can somehow cease to be an effective instrument to pummel political opponents, then we might see a real shift in the discourse concerning Russia," he said.

The experts urged Biden to let US sanctions policy die down and expressed hope his Democratic party will follow in his footsteps.


"President Biden seems to be serious about bringing about a better, more stable relationship and I'm hopeful his party will follow suit," Cawood said.