European companies may find it difficult to win back the market share they have lost to Asian rivals in Russia as a result of economic sanctions, an economic advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a German newspaper interview on Friday.
"I think relations on a political level can -- and will inevitably -- be repaired," Andrei Belousov told the daily Die Welt. "But when it comes to the economy, the situation is unfortunately more difficult because European firms and countries have lost big shares in the Russian market," Belousov said. "It will be pretty difficult to win it back because sanctions have forced Russia to find new partners in the East." While western companies may have lost market share, "They're not leaving Russia," Belousov continued. In fact "a lot of foreign companies have now said they want to set up production facilities in Russia. If exporting to Russia doesn't work, then at least have production there. We're trying to help here because we understand that links to Europe are decisive for us," the advisor said.
EU foreign ministers formally agreed this week to prolong to January 2016 damaging economic sanctions against Russia to ensure it fully implements Ukraine peace accords.