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Eurasian Business Briefing | News

Business news and Investment opportunities along the New Silk Road, from China to Europe and from the Arctic to the Caspian Sea.

Alibaba to use Silk Road to boost SME trade

Alibaba CEO Jack MaChinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is planning to leverage China’s Belt and Road initiative to help the country’s SMEs boost levels of international trade, according to reports in China Daily this week, with CEO Jack Ma urging policy makers and business leaders to create new rules and laws to strengthen trade and development. 
“We have plans (more…)

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Gazprom to receive European funding for second Nord Stream gas pipeline

Nord Stream2 pipesGazprom’s plans to lay a second gas pipeline along the bed of the Baltic Sea came one step closer to fruition yesterday when five European companies agreed to finance 50% of the Nord Stream 2 project to the tune of € 4.75 bn. Under the terms of the agreement, (more…)

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Exxon’s Black Sea hopes dashed

Steven Mnuchin US TreasurySecretaryThe Trump administration has rejected Exxon Mobil’s application for a waiver from sanctions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea and subsequent events in eastern Ukraine, dashing the oil company’s hopes that it could resume drilling in the Black Sea in partnership with Rosneft. (more…)

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Exxon in bid to resume Russian JV

Exxon Mobil has applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from US sanctions on Russia in a bid to resume its Black Sea joint venture with state oil giant Rosneft, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal; but (more…)

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Brexit draws UK companies to Iran despite shadow of sanctions

Iranian power plant at ShazandWith the prospect of Brexit limiting their ability to operated within the EU, UK firms are cautiously turning to the attention the opportunities potentially on offer from Iran’s $600bn anticipated boom in trade and infrastructure investment over the next ten years.
With the Islamic Republic about to embarking on an ambitious investment drive after years of international isolation, the authorities in Tehran are expected to be looking overseas for the finance it requires for a number of key projects, including the expansion of its 10,223km long state-owned rail network; the construction of 7 new international airports; the upgrade of 54 existing ones; and the acquisition of a new fleet of aircraft. The state carrier Iran Air has already placed orders with Airbus for 114 new aircraft and it is estimated that another 600 new airplanes will be needed over the next decade.
Iran also hopes to secure large investments into its unexplored and under-developed natural gas sector.
“Is there an opportunity here for UK business? Of course there is,” said Amanda Clack, head of Infrastructure and consultancy EY told The Telegraph this week. “Deliverability is key and contracts could be won by British companies on the basis of professionalism. These skills are underpinned by high standards and regulation which means the companies are more likely to offer a robust approach to the work.”
However, according to the The British Iranian Chamber of Commerce (BICC), the main obstacle towards a significant increase in British Iranian trade lies in the absence of banking facilities caused by the fear among European banks of American primary sanctions against Iran which were retained even after the Iran nuclear deal in late 2015.
“Until the American election there were indications that some UK banks were willing to handle direct transactions with Iran under certain conditions. Since then attitudes of the banks seem to have become more cautious and restrictive,” a spokesman said.

 

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First train leaves UK on New Silk Road

London to Yiwu trainThe first ‘Silk Road’ rail freight service from Britain to China pulled out of the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Essex yesterday laden with pharmaceuticals, whisky, soft drinks, vitamins and baby products at the start of its maiden 18-day 7,500-mile journey to Yiwu in the central province of Zhejiang. After passing through the Channel Tunnel into France and on to Belgium, the train will call in Duisburg, Germany from (more…)

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Johnson to push G7 to impose new sanctions on Russia over Syria

Chemical gas attack SyriaUK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is expected to use today’s G7 meeting in Lucca to call on fellow member states to ramp up sanctions against Russia following the latest developments in Syria, according to The Times, unless Moscow (more…)

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ChemChina gets OK for Syngenta deal

SyngentaChemChina has won EU antitrust approval for its $43bn takeover of Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta, paving the way for China’s largest overseas acquisition to date. The EU’s approval is conditional on ChemChina’s agreeing to (more…)

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Russia and Uzbekistan sign $3.5bn in deals as Mirziyoyev heads to Moscow

Uzbek President Shavkat MirziyoyevWith Uzbekistan’s new President Shavkat Mirziyoyev due to arrive in Moscow tomorrow, the Uzbek foreign ministry has announced that the two countries have signed off on $3.5bn of bilateral deals covering project finance, the joint manufacturing of agricultural machinery and a number of agreements relating to the supply of Uzbek fruit and vegetables to Russia with oil set to flow in the opposite direction. The announcement (more…)

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EEU doomed, predicts Bzhezinsky

Zbignev BzhezinskyThe Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will be dead and buried within in ten years or as soon as Russia accepts that it is a a European state, Zbignev Bzhezinsky predicted this week. In an interview with the daily Gazeta, (more…)

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