US softens stance on SPIEF as industry chiefs book their tickets to St Petersburg

SPIEF 2013The US government has relaxed its ban on Western businessmen attending the annual SPIEF St Petersburg International Economic Forum that kicks off next week, according to the Financial Times. As a result, according to the newspaper, Russia’s answer to Davos is likely to attract some major luminaries including bosses from AT Kearney, the Boston Consulting Group, PwC, Shell, BP, Société Générale, Total, Schlumberger, JCDecaux, Metro and Carlsberg.
In contrast to last year, when White House officials appealed to US executives in particular to boycott ‘Putin’s party’, Washington’s approach this year is much more relaxed. “The message is: If you’re asking us, we still won’t encourage you to go, but if you don’t ask, nothing will happen,” said a US diplomat. Two executives from American companies with business interests in Russia confirmed they had been told by government officials there would be “no punishment” if the company’s chief executive officers attended.

Source: FT