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Alfa Bank President Peter Aven tells House of Lords Committee Globalisation is Good for Russia

June 12, 2002. TAG: Financial Services

"Russia needs more big multinationals," Aven said. "They bring competition and choice and open up new sectors and create conditions for development." Aven was talking to the Lords' Economic Affairs Committee as the first Russian businessman invited to give evidence to its Globalisation Inquiry. The House of Lords is the British Parliament's Upper Chamber. The Committee has been taking evidence on globalisation from politicians, academics, industry leaders, and non-governmental organisations since October 2001. "Russia is a very big country and is not afraid of foreign investment,"Aven added. "The presence of global players in Russia has helped us create choice." The Committee asked Aven a wide range of questions - about the impact of globalisation on Russia, foreign investment, trade and economic liberalisation. He re-stated his views that Russia needed far more economic liberalisation and de-regulation and said that the country had to undergo a "moral change" to eradicate corruption, which he described as systemic. "Russia needs further liberalisation, serious improvement to its legal system and more transparency," he said. "We have the laws but it's the enforcement of the laws that is the problem." Russia wanted to be part of the Western world and therefore welcomed prospective membership of the WTO and its recent inclusion by the United States in market economy status. Aven cited BP as an example of the positive benefits to Russia of large foreign investors. BP, which has a joint stake in an Alfa Group oil company Sidanco, was raising standards on key issues such as labour and the environment, he said. The Committee's brief is to define and describe the characteristics of economic globalisation; to consider its impact at UK and EU levels and globally; to try to identify the concerns underlying the anti-globalisation movement; and to consider policy responses to the consequences of economic globalisation at national and international institutional level. In particular the Committee is focussing on the costs and benefits of globalisation and examining the apparent disparities in the process - why some countries and sectors of society seem to have been left behind and how emerging economies, such as Russia, are succeeding in catching up. Prominent international organisations that have given evidence to the Committee include the WTO, UNCTAD, ILO, WHO and IMF. Lord Browne of BP has given evidence and talked about his company's experience in Russia. Mr Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of Uniliver, and Sir Richard Sykes, Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, are also scheduled to appear. The 12-member Committee is headed by Lord Peston, a former Economics Professor and Labour Peer, and includes well-known figures such as Baroness Hogg, a former head of the then Conservative Prime Minister's Policy Unit (1990-95), and Lord Burns, a former permanent secretary to the Treasury (1991-98). "It is vitally important for us to know about countries like Russia," Lord Peston said.

ABH Holdings S.A.

ABH Holdings S.A. (ABHH) is a privately owned Luxembourg-based holding company investing into several banking groups in the CIS and Europe. ABHH includes Alfa-Bank (Russia), Alfa-Bank (Ukraine), Ukrsotsbank (Ukraine), Alfa-Bank (Belarus), Alfa-Bank (Kazakhstan) and Amsterdam Trade Bank N.V. You can find more information on ABH Holdings S.A.'s website http://www.abhh.lu/