US-Russia business relations are alive despite sanctions which American business itself doesn’t support.

Business bypassing sanctions

It is already four years since the United States rolled out these economic punishments against Moscow. Moscow, in turn, has forged similar measures against Washington and its interests. It seems as of today that both sides don’t expect those restrictions to be scrapped anytime soon. However, Russian and American businesses manage to work together productively even in light of current frosty relations. US companies continue to cooperate with Russia despite the sanctions. According to Randy Levinas, executive vice president of the US-Russia Business Council: “Business with Russia has not stopped, it continues in accordance with the rules established by American sanctions.” She stressed that “everything is not as gloomy as some say.”

The American-Russian Business Council is working closely with Russian business associations.It tries to cut red tape and regulatory burdens on businesses.

The reason for sanctions

Washington has introduced sanctions against Moscow in 2014.  It followed Russia’s reunification with the Crimea and due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The sanctions have since expanded, to include individuals, companies and whole branches of the Russian economy. Russian companies say that they have learned to adapt to the new reality. Many found new ways to work around tighter restrictions, and claim they would do so again. Meanwhile, a wide range of American corporations has jointly started a lobbying campaign against anti-Russia sanctions.

BP, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Boeing and Citigroup, MasterCard and Visa were reportedly among the companies raising concerns over the punitive measures threatening America’s own economic interests, which they believe will ultimately harm their own businesses, rather than the Kremlin.

Russian Trade Minister Denis Manturov said during his visit to Washington that Moscow is ready to talk to US businesses. He pointed out that Moscow won’t discriminate against foreign companies based in Russia despite the tension between the two countries. He explained that only considering constantly escalating reciprocal measures is not fruitful. According to the minister, Russian companies have adapted to Western sanctions, but at the same time Moscow expects Washington to take a sensible approach so it “should not affect business.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently expressed hopes for “balanced” bilateral relations, saying “fundamental mutual interests will sooner or later change the nature of Russia-US relations for the better.”


By ZarinaTsomayeva (Moscow/Ossetia)

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