While Russia appears to be Washington's "enemy of choice", such would not be the case for all of America. A recent meeting in Moscow shows very clearly that some Americans still believe that they can benefit from co-operation with Russia and Vladimir Putin.
Here is the press announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation:
Here is the webpage showing the opening comments by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the meeting with the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce:
Let's pick out the salient points. First, Mr. Lavrov makes the following observation:
Putting it mildly, today, Russia-US cooperation is below its potential. We would like to add additional impetus to our economic and investment cooperation. This is why the idea to establish a coordinating business council with the participation of the top executives of five to seven private companies from each side was discussed at the meeting between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Helsinki last July. The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) submitted the related initiatives to its US partners but we haven’t yet received a reply. Obviously the dominant political environment in the US is playing a role in this.
Nevertheless, Russia-US trade has been steadily growing over the past two years. Last year it reached $25 billion. This is less than the record $31 billion in 2011 but much better than after the Barrack Obama administration decided to destroy the foundations of our cooperation."
He also notes that Russia would like to have conditions that would allow American businesses to invest and expand into the Russian economy.
As background, let's look at some of the attendees. Mr. Lavrov notes that representatives of the following companies are present:
1.) Chevron – Here's a screen capture from Chevron's website showing their involvement in Russia:
Chevron has an ownership stake in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium which transports crude oil from the Tengiz Field in Kazakhstan to tanker-loading facilities on the Russian coast of the Black Sea. Chevron also markets Chevron and Texaco-branded lubricants and coolants throughout Russia through authorized distributors. Through Chevron Lummus Global, Chevron licences several hydroprocessing technologies used in the production of transportation fuels and lubricants.
2.) ExxonMobil – ExxonMobil has a major operation in Russia's Far East – the Sakhalin-1 venture which pumps more than 200,000 BOPD through interests in its Exxon Neftegas Limited project as shown here:
Exxon even touts the benefits of the project to Russia and Russians as shown here:
In February 2018, ExxonMobil withdrew from a joint deep water exploration venture in Russia's Arctic region with Rosneft thanks to American sanctions. According to Bloomberg, Russia' Rosneft began to open discussions with ExxonMobil in October 2018 on natural gas, refining and chemical projects which are exempt from American sanctions.
3.) General Electric – Here is a webpage giving us background information on General Electric's operations in Russia:
Note that, according to General Electric, it is one of the largest foreign companies operating in Russia.
4.) Johnson & Johnson – Johnson & Johnson are also heavily involved in Russia as shown here:
Johnson & Johnson claims that, in 2006, it became the largest health care company in Russia.
5.) American Express – Here is a translated page of American Express's webpage for Russian consumers:
American Express Russia also has a Facebook page as shown here:
As you can clearly see, if there's a profit to be made, sanctions be damned. Corporate America has a significant presence in Russia and seems to care relatively little about Washington's vilification of all things Russian.
Let's close with a further quote from Mr. Lavrov:
"I consider this situation abnormal. It contradicts the interests of business and the need to create jobs. It harms the interests of those who lose revenue due to the sanctions.
I hope common sense will eventually prevail. More voices, including those in the West are advocating this approach."
Corporate America has made its intentions very clear when it comes to dealing with Russia and it has everything to do with profitability and not politics.
Click HERE to read more from this author.