WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Moscow expects that its exports to the United States will increase by some 11 percent and reach $11 billion this year, Russia's trade representative to the United States Alexander Stadnik told Sputnik.
"We are expecting to reach the pre-crisis exports level in 2017, which is $10.5-11 billion," Stadnik said referencing to 2013-2014 levels. "But that's the forecast in the first quarter and much will depend on how the situation develops."
According to the data of the Trade Representation, the exports from Russia to the United States in 2016 was $9.4 billion.
"We are also preparing a number of big events in various formats to realize these plans and search for new initiatives," Stadnik noted. "But to speak frankly, it's a big risk to make positive forecasts without stability and positivity in the bilateral relations."
He added that the new US president inherited catastrophic state of US-Russia relations.
"And just look how any efforts to improve the situation are met by the US Congress and the media," Stadnik added.
Russia Trade Representation Hopes for Constructive Meetings With US Commerce Department
The Russian Trade Representation in the United States is hopeful that contacts and meetings with US Department of Commerce representatives under the guidance of their new Secretary Wilbur Ross will continue after the new US administration is fully formed, Stadnik told Sputnik.
"Regular contacts with the representatives of the governmental bodies of the United States are part of our job. The new administration is currently being formed. When this process is completed, we will definitely meet with our colleagues from the Department of Commerce, trade representatives and other departments," he said. "I hope to see people I already know there and to meet new people."
Stadnik noted that Russian representatives would like to discuss a number of topics related to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and international cooperation.
The Trade Representative also pointed out that Russian diplomats in the United States continue to face various difficulties.
"All the restrictions imposed by the Obama administration in the last days of the term are still in force," he explained. "While the current conditions are not helpful for the diplomatic work, our mission is aiming at the productive work and will be carrying out under any conditions," Stadnik stated.
During a US Senate confirmation hearing in January, Ross said the Trump administration would focus on ending trade practices by China and other partners that are unfair to the United States.
Ross pledged to push US partners to practice fair trade in a more balanced manner and has stated that nations not complying with existing trade rules should be punished.
Relations between Moscow and the West deteriorated significantly in 2014 after Crimea voted to reunite with Russia and as military clashes escalated in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has been hit by a downturn that began in early 2015 after falling oil prices and Western anti-Russia sanctions took bite. The country's GDP fell 3.7 percent in 2015, according to the Russian Federal Statistics Service Rosstat.