CERBA, the acronym for Canadian Eurasian Russian Business Association wants to grow their membership across Canada. Members continue to increase in recent years despite Canadian sanctions against Russia.
Nurturing trade and government relationships between Canada and Greater Eurasia remains their focus, said CERBA chair Gilles Breton at the association’s recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) held for the first time in Vancouver.
Breton cited they have been very productive, particularly in the past two years. They have organized events and secured Canadian government funding to expand their work, which is creating networking and business connections.
“We do a lot of trade events and missions,” said Breton. He highlighted two very successful recent CERBA events. The 2018 construction and infrastructure forum in Toronto, and the Vancouver mining conference on the margin of AME roundup 2019.
“Crucial and meaningful high-level discussions have become virtually impossible under prevailing circumstances,” stated Breton in the latest CERBA Newsletter.
He is referring to Canadian sanctions against Russia and vice versa, which he labelled the “new normal”. CERBA will have to continue to work and function normally in this constrained environment, he added.
“Sanctions will be around, stop being negative, accept the limitation and the environment we work in, let’s move forward,” CERBA founder Nathan Hunt told audience at the AGM networking lunch.
Canada and Russia can and will always be partners in trade and even investment regardless of the political climate, said Hunt who added that both countries share common interests and have common characteristics.
Vancouver chapter chair Erin Chutter-Campbell said CERBA has assisted her with business opportunities in Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and now Eastern Europe. She has also learned to appreciate the “nuances of the business and personal relationship culture”.
“The organization has grown, developed and survived some very challenging times,” said Chutter-Campbell. It’s because of a partnership and fellowship that has been established among local and international members, regional directors and the board, she added.
Russian Far East Opportunities
Many Canadian companies are proactive in Russia and vice versa in the information technology field, said senior trade commissioner and head of the Russian Trade Mission to Canada Valerii Moximov.
Annual growth in the Russian Far East region is up to nine per cent, he said. The Russian government is investing heavily in the region’s infrastructure. Canadian company like KinRoss Gold is active in the mining sector.
Current CERBA members are mainly mining companies. The association plans to diversify its membership to include companies in the service sector. It presently has chapters in Alberta, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and Winnipeg. Their three international chapters are Moscow, Tashkent and Almaty. Membership details at cerbanet.org