The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) brought together over 19,000 participants from 145 countries this year, setting a new record in history of the event, the executive secretary of the SPIEF organizing committee, Anton Kobyakov, said Saturday.
"This year, we broke the absolute record in terms of the number and composition of participants: the forum gathered more than 19,000 participants and guests from 145 countries," Kobyakov told reporters.
The list of participants included six heads of state, as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, he added.
Fourteen countries, Kobyakov noted, were represented at the level of vice-presidents and prime ministers. The forum was also attended by heads of leading international organizations and associations, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Energy Council, the Arctic Economic Council and others.
According to the official, the 1,072-strong Chinese delegation was the biggest one at SPIEF 2019. The US delegation, composed of 520 people, was the second-largest. Delegations from France, Japan and Germany were also among the biggest at the forum. The UK delegation consisted of 318 people.
"I cannot but express words of gratitude to Washington. With their bans, our US counterparts are actually making significant efforts so that SPIEF remains an important event in the calendar of leading businessmen around the world," Kobyakov said.
Over years, the United States has not been sending its official delegation to SPIEF. In May, the US Department of State, however, said that private businesses were free to decide whether or not to take part in the forum, thereby diverting from the previous policy of discouraging US companies from attending SPIEF.
This year, meanwhile, as many as 1,300 foreign companies and more than 2,500 Russian companies were represented at the forum, according to Kobyakov.