By Claire West

British firms are being urged to explore new trade opportunities with Russia as a three-day trade mission to the UK’s fastest growing major export market begins today (Tuesday).

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green and CBI Director-General John Cridland are leading a mission of 25 mid-sized businesses to help to strengthen business ties and offer a potential boost to UK exports.

They will visit Moscow and St Petersburg, where they will meet key figures from the Russian Government and business community. The UK companies, including Delcam, TAP Biosystems, Fiberweb, BOCM PAULS LTD and Mivan, will have the opportunity to gain useful knowledge of the market and engage with potential commercial partners.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said:

“Russia is our fastest growing major export market and, with 140 million consumers looking for quality British products and services, it offers great opportunities for British businesses. Important steps such as Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation are making it easier for British firms to do business there.

“The London Olympics showed the UK delivering an outstanding summer of sport on time and on budget. Now is the time for British businesses to build on this legacy and assist Russia in achieving its ambitious economic modernisation and infrastructure development goals.

“With this trade mission we are targeting new export opportunities for Britain’s mid-sized businesses in an important market. Building on National Export Week earlier this month, we’re keen to make strides in reaching our target to get another 100,000 UK firms exporting by 2020, helping to secure long-term and sustainable economic growth.”

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:

“Opportunities for British business abound in this fast growing market, from energy to life sciences to helping deliver the major sporting tournaments that Russia will be hosting in the coming years.

“We’ve identified a potential £30 billion export prize by 2020 if the UK creates the right business environment for our industries to thrive, and mid-sized businesses will be at the heart of this.”

Russia is a significant trading partner for British businesses, with more than 600 UK companies already operating there and UK exports totaling £5 billion. In the last two years, the value of British goods exported to Russia has increased by over 80%. This is expected to grow further as Russia opens its economy up to more international trade and investment.