04:10 GMT +322 July 2019
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    This photo taken on May 7, 2013 shows Russian and the US flags running up as the US Secretary of State arrives at Moscow Vnukovo Airport

    US-Russia Business Ties Prospects Amid Political 'Zero Contacts' - Lawmaker

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    The Chairman of Russia's State Parliament Committee on Financial Markets Anatoly Aksakov told Sputnik on Thursday that Washington's controversial policy towards Moscow could likely create barriers for US investors in lucrative sectors of the Russian economy.

    NEW YORK (Sputnik) — Aksakov noted that US companies might miss profitable investment opportunities in Russia's fast-growing transportation infrastructure, losing to China and other Asian countries because of sanctions imposed by the United States and due to deteriorating bilateral relations.

    "It is obvious that investments in transport infrastructure, acceleration of freight traffic associated with the development of transport and road networks are promising," Aksakov said. "Whoever invests will win. It is clear that China is interested, it will invest. I think, Japan will invest, and (South Korea). It is clear that the Americans can miss."

    Aksakov noted the statistics on the freight turnover in Russia, which grew by more than 7 percent, reflect a positive trend in the economy. Moreover, Aksakov pointed out that cross-border transportation-growth is even greater, exceeding 10 percent.

    "This shows that the old idea of ​​Russia as a transport corridor is becoming a reality," Aksakov said.

    Lawmaker also stressed that Russian banks had confidently demonstrated this year that they had adapted to western sanctions.

    "The banking system has adapted. What we see this year is the growth of assets, loans, deposits, which shows that the banks have already adapted to sanctions and operate normally," Aksakov said.

    Cyber-Secured Economy

    Anatoly Aksakov commented on the growing digital risks of the modern economy. Lawmaker pointed out that Russia's banking system has withstood all of the recent massive hacker attacks, and the banks work normally and steadily. He added that the Central Bank was heading towards the development of a joint protection system with all of the the country's bankers as a part of the effort against malicious cyber attacks.

    "I advocate that the central bank, using the example of payment cards, creates a joint system with the bankers that would work on the outsourcing basis," Aksakov who is a Chairman, Association of Regional Banks of Russia, stated. "As the protection from cyber-attacks is capital-intensive, the Central bank can take the leading role. And then this system will work on a self-sustaining basis. We are in negotiations with the Central Bank about creating such a structure. There are both its supporters and opponents. But the process is heading in this direction, as the attacks become more powerful," he said.

    The cooperation on cybersecurity between Russia and the United States was actively developing in 2009-2013, when the administration of former US President Barack Obama initiated a reset of relations with Russia, Lawmaker added.

    "The issue of cybersecurity should become the number one issue for discussions between Russia and the United States," Aksakov said. "America often accuses us of this issue. Let's sit down and talk."

    The Bank of Russia said Wednesday it has registered attacks using BadRabbit ransomware, but financial organizations have not been compromised. Russia's central bank noted that cyberattacks spreading malware might continue.

    "Zero Contacts"

    Anatoly Aksakov told Sputnik that US lawmakers refused to meet with him at the annual meeting of the US-Russia Business Council (USRBC) in New York.

    "When it was clear that I was coming to this event, I requested some meetings with the US Congressmen, with the chairmen of the financial committees of the Senate and the House, but unfortunately, they did not find time for that," Aksakov stated. "On one hand, it was expected, on the other hand it is still surprising. In order to solve issues, it is necessary to talk, to meet, and to discuss what we like and dislike and what should be done so that the relations develop positively."

    Aksakov said on Wednesday he had a number of meetings with the representatives of the US businesses, who all agree that the current situation with the United States and Russia is not normal, and it's time to end this hysteria.

    "The business leaders told me they will be working on the development of our contacts," he noted. "There are a lot of areas for cooperation between the United States and Russia, including the fight against terrorism, solving the conflict in Syria, the North Korean issue, and the Iran nuclear program. If we sit down at the table and discuss these issues, the world will immediately become more peaceful."

    Russia and the United States currently have zero contacts at the inter-parliamentary level,  Aksakov noted.

    "We don't have any," Aksakov said when asked about the level of contacts between US and Russia lawmakers. "The task of the parliamentarians is to meet and discuss problems, controversial issues, disagreements, and decide on what needs to be done to solve them."

    The USRBC meeting is taking place in New York and is attended by representatives of various US companies, including Ford Motor Company, Mastercard, and Caterpillar, Inc.

    Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov, representatives of the Russian companies, the officials representing the key sectors of the Russian economy are also participating in the event.

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    cyber, banks, investments, business, economy, relations, bilateral ties, USRBC (US-Russian Business Council), Anatoly Aksakov, United States, Russia
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