December 2020 | ISSUE No. 302| USRCC Business Newsletter
USRCC Activities
◾ Monday, December 14th, 2020: Houston-Moscow “Building Bridges through Travel” Roundtable
On December 14, 2020, the USRCC with the support from the City of Houston and the City of Moscow held the Houston-Moscow Roundtable titled “Building Bridges through Travel.”

In 2007 the City of Houston and the City of Moscow have signed an agreement of cooperation. In March of 2020 both cities signed the new working agenda, which included tourism as one of the areas of cooperation. In the context of this cooperation with the support of the U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce both cities held a roundtable with participation from the government officials and top industry experts from Houston and Moscow, who shared their experience and best practices during these challenging times. 

In a studio setting from George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston and Metropol Hotel in Moscow this roundtable was broadcasted live via YouTube and was moderated by famous Russian actress and radio and TV host Svetlana Zeynalova.

The following panelists participated in the Houston-Moscow Roundtable:
  • Christopher Olson, Director, Trade and International Affairs, City of Houston;
  • Sergey Cheremin, Minister of the Moscow Government, Head of the Department of External Economic and International Relations of the City of Moscow;
  • Alexander Zakharov, Consul General, Consulate General of Russian Federation in Houston;
  • James Golsen, Commercial Counselor - Senior Commercial Officer, Embassy of the United States of America in Moscow;
  • Ilya Kuzmin, Deputy Head, Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations of the City of Moscow;
  • Jorge Franz, Senior Vice President of Tourism, Visit Houston;
  • William T. Harris, President and CEO, Space Center Houston;
  • Nicki Keenan, Senior Vice President, Sales, Landry's Inc.;
  • Ekaterina Pronicheva, Head, Moscow Tourism Committee;
  • Konstantin P. Akopyan, Head, External Communications Department, RUSSPASS Digital Travel Service;
  • Fedor N. Yurchikhin, President, Cosmonautics and Aviation Center at VDNKh, Space Pilot of Russian Federation, Hero of Russia; and
  • Marina Skokova, Chief General Manager, Metropol and Petrovsky Travel Palace Hotel Group.

The panelists presented best of what both cities of Houston (and Houston First) and Moscow offer to tourists, main attractions of both cities, which are Houston Space Center and Moscow VDNKh, and best hotel chains in both cities, which are Landry's in Houston and Travel Palace Hotel Group (including, Metropol) in Moscow. The moderated discussion addressed the impact of digitalization on tourism industry, tourists' protection during the pandemic, government support of the industry, space related tourism plans for 2021, and many others.

The YouTube broadcast of the event is available
in both English and Russian languages on the USRCC's website:

Svetlana Zeynalova

Russian Radio and TV Host

To read the full bio click here.
Christopher Olson

Trade and International Affairs, 
City of Houston

To read the full bio click here.
Sergey Cheremin

Minister of the 
Moscow Government,
Head of the Department of External Economic and International Relations of the City of Moscow

To read the full bio click here.
Alexander Zakharov

Consul General,
Consulate General
of Russian Federation
in Houston 

To read the full bio click here.
James Golsen

Commercial Counselor - Senior Commercial Officer, Embassy of the United States of America in Moscow

To read the full bio click here.
Jorge Franz

Senior Vice President of Tourism,
Visit Houston

To read the full bio click here.
William T. Harris

President and CEO,
Space Center Houston

To read the full bio click here.
Nicki Keenan

Senior Vice President, Sales,
Landry's Inc.

To read the full bio click here.
Ekaterina Pronicheva

Moscow Tourism Committee

To read the full bio click here.
Konstantin P. Akopyan

External Communications Department,
Travel Service
Ilya Kuzmin

Deputy Head,
Department of Foreign Economic and International Relations of the City of Moscow

To read the full bio click here.
Fedor N. Yurchikhin

Cosmonautics and Aviation 
Center at VDNKh

To read the full bio click here.
Marina Skokova

Chief General Manager,
Metropol and Petrovsky Travel Palace Hotel Group

To read the full bio click here.
USRCC Membership
Are you taking advantage
of your USRCC Member Benefits?

The U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce provides a variety of Membership options to fit your business needs and goals. Renew your membership or join for the first time today!

For more information click here.
Member's News
ExxonMobil Announces Emission Reduction Plans; Expects to Meet 2020 Goals, December 14, 2020: ExxonMobil plans to reduce the intensity of operated upstream greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 20 percent by 2025, compared to 2016 levels. This will be supported by a 40 to 50 percent decrease in methane intensity, and a 35 to 45 percent decrease in flaring intensity across its global operations. The emission reduction plans, which cover Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions from operated assets, are projected to be consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Read more...
Gazprom Promoting Breakthrough Ideas in Energy Sector, December 14, 2020: The Global Energy Association, an international organization co-founded by Gazprom, presented its first annual report “Ten Breakthrough Ideas in Energy for the Next 10 Years” written by academics from Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Iran. The report outlines the key ideas of studies aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of energy industries, including by developing energy efficiency and energy conservation practices.
Lukoil Receives the Most Prestigious International Communications Award for Promoting Innovation in Oil Industry, December 16, 2020: LUKOIL received the Grand Prix and was announced winner in two categories of Eventiada IPRA Golden World Awards 2020, the largest communications award in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This year, Eventiada IPRA GWA struck a partnership with the United Nations and joined the programme of supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Read more...
This Week in Review
Source: Rosneft Wins Auction for Zapadno-Minkhovsky Block, December 16, 2020: Russian oil major Rosneft has won an auction for the Zapadno-Minkhovsky block located on the Gydan Peninsula and partially in the Taz Estuary of the Kara Sea, a source with knowledge of the results of the auction told PRIME on Wednesday. The starting price is 124 million rubles. The source did not disclose Rosneft’s bid. Read more...
Russian Energy Ministry Expects Global Gas Demand to Rise in Coming 25-30 Years, December 18, 2020: Global gas demand will not decline in coming 25-30 years, it will only rise due to a small carbon footprint, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin told a forum on Friday. The demand is largely expected to be satisfied by liquified natural gas (LNG). Read more...
Russia Finalizes IT Privilege Scheme, December 14, 2020: The Russian government has finalised a tax privilege scheme for the IT industry, which will be launched as of 2021 in a bid to make locally developed software and other IT products more competitive in the global market. As of January, IT firms operating in the Russian market will be able to apply for sizeable tax privileges. Most importantly, the income tax for IT companies will be cut from the current 20% to a symbolic 3%, and payments to the social security fund will go down from 14% to 7.6%. Read more...
CBR Keeps Key Rate at 4.25%, Noting Intensification of Proinflationary Risks, December 18, 2020: The board of directors of the Central Bank of Russia has kept the key rate at 4.25% per annum, noting reduction of disinflationary risks and intensification of proinflationary ones. The CBR said in a statement following the board meeting that one-off proinflationary factors "are exerting more significant and prolonged upward influence on prices amid the growth in households' and businesses' inflation expectations and supply-side restrictions." Read more...
Russian Scientists Develop Imaging Software to Visualise Cities, Planets, December 18, 2020: Scientists at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (PRUE) have developed a non-scale computer environment for rendering real and artificial landscapes. The experts said the system can be used to render geometric modelling of landscapes, planetary systems, buildings, and many other objects, the university's press service reported. Read more...
Roscosmos: U.S. Moon Orbiter Must Be Compatible with Russian Spacecraft, December 15, 2020: The CEO of Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, has said he has recommended NASA to equip its future Moon orbiter with a docking port compatible with Russian space vehicles just in case. This would enable Russia to extend a helping hand in emergency, TASS reported. Rogozin said he had addressed NASA’s director, Jim Bridenstine, with such a proposal some time ago. Read more...
Houston-Tyumen Sister Cities
Tyumen Has Become One of the Leaders in Digitalization Among Russian Cities, December 16, 2020: Tyumen has become one of the leaders in the formation of the digital space among the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. The regional capital is in second place among large cities with a population of up to 1 million inhabitants with an indicator of 67.01 points. This was reported by the press service of the city administration. Read more...
CIS Business News
U.S. Mission to Kazakhstan and USAID Celebrate 10th Anniversary of GEW in Kazakhstan, December 16, 2020: The U.S. Mission to Kazakhstan, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Future Growth Initiative, and MOST Business Incubatormarked the successful completion of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2020 in Kazakhstan. This year, GEW was held from November 16-22. The focus of this year’s GEW in Kazakhstan was entrepreneurship development. Event sessions were led by local and international experts. Read more...
Azerbaijani SOCAR's Turkish Affiliate Obtains Grant for Solar Power-based Productions, December 18, 2020: The ‘NEFERTITI’ project of the SOCAR Turkey Ar-Ge Research and Innovation Center has received the right to obtain a grant, Trend reports referring to the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan. According to the company, the above project envisioning the production of ethanol/isopropanol from carbon dioxide using solar energy technologies will be financed through the European Commission's Horizon 2020 grant program. Read more...
Belarus, Uzbekistan Discuss Supplies of Belarusian Construction Materials, December 17, 2020: A delegation of the Belarusian timber, woodworking, pulp and paper industry concern Bellesbumprom led by Bellesbumprom's Deputy Chairman Gennady Dikovitsky held talks with the Ministry of Construction and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan in Tashkent, BelTA learned from the Belarusian Embassy in Tashkent. Read more...
US-Russia Related News in Russia
◾ Новости недели
Россия в Октябре Осталась на Втором Месте по Добыче Нефти в Мире, Декабрь 17, 2020: Россия в октябре сохранила второе место в мире по объему нефтедобычи с показателем в 9,326 миллиона баррелей в сутки, США сохранили мировое лидерство, а на третьем месте осталась Саудовская Аравия, свидетельствуют данные организации "Совместная инициатива по нефтяной статистике" (JODI). На этой позиции Россия остается шестой месяц подряд, и лишь в апреле страна опускалась на третье место. До этого больше года РФ также была на втором месте. Читать далее...
РСПП Просит Упростить Въезд в Россию Иностранным Специалистам, Декабрь 16, 2020: Российский союз промышленников и предпринимателей (РСПП) и международные бизнес-объединения попросили правительство разрешить высокопрофессиональным иностранным работникам многократно въезжать в страну и оформлять электронное продление виз. Просьбы содержатся в письме премьеру Михаилу Мишустину. Читать далее...
Новак: Интеллектуализация и Цифровизация Будут Играть Решающую Роль в Электроэнергетике, Декабрь 18, 2020: Интеллектуализация и цифровизация в большинстве секторов промышленности, в том числе в энергетике, будут играть решающую роль. Об этом написал вице-премьер РФ Александр Новак в статье для журнала "Энергетическая политика". Новак отметил, что в ситуации с пандемией предприятия электроэнергетики, где опережающее внедрение цифровых технологий ведется не первый год, смогли грамотно внедрить уже существующие наработки и в кратчайшие сроки реализовать новые цифровые форматы. Читать далее...
S&P: Экономика России в 2021 году Отыграет Большую Часть Падения, Декабрь 17, 2020: S&P Global Ratings прогнозирует сокращение экономики России примерно на 3,5% в 2020 г. и ее восстановление примерно на 2,9% в 2021 г. При этом базовым сценарием аналитики агентства считают сохранение в следующем году сложных рыночных условий, поскольку неопределенность в отношении развития пандемии и введения ограничительных мер по-прежнему может оказывать давление на способность домохозяйств и предприятий частного сектора обслуживать долг. Читать далее...
В России Подписали Первые Инвестсоглашения на ₽135 млрд по Новым Правилам, Декабрь 14, 2020: Минэкономразвития объявило о подписании первых девяти соглашений о защите и поощрении капиталовложений (СЗПК), общий объем инвестиций по которым превысит 135 млрд руб. Президент Владимир Путин подписал закон о СЗПК 1 апреля. Согласно документу заключившие соглашение компании получают гарантию неизменности ставок налогов на имущество и прибыль, а также вывозной таможенной пошлины и условий землепользования в течение 6–20 лет. Читать далее...

The USRCC is looking for new team members!

Volunteers play a key role and the contributions they make impact the day-to-day functions of the chamber and shape the future of the relationship between Russia and the U.S.

There are many ways you can get involved with the USRCC. Whether you are an experienced leader or a student, there is a place for you. By volunteering you can be at the very center of our high-profile events held in Houston, Chicago and New York City and interact with influential leaders in the U.S.-Russia trade and investment.
To learn more about the position 
or contact us directly at  
call 713.429.4680
 USRCC Executive Partners 
U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce
2900 Wilcrest Drive
Suite 133
Houston, TX 77042

The U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce (USRCC) is a 501(c)(6) not for profit corporation with its headquarters in Houston, Texas, and offices in the Midwest and the Northeast. The USRCC was established in 2009 to promote trade and investment between the Russian Federation and the U.S.A.  
The information contained in this newsletter is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. USRCC does not accept any responsibility for any loss that may arise from reliance on information contained in this newsletter. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the USRCC or its members. Links within this newsletter lead to other websites, including those operated and maintained by third parties. The linked sites are not part of the USRCC newsletter. USRCC includes these links solely as a convenience to the newsletter subscribers, and the presence of such links does not imply a responsibility for the linked site and its operator. USRCC cannot certify the accuracy of the material provided by the original source.

Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved.