Exxon ban will hurt US firms: Putin

HANOI. — Russian President Vladimir Putin says American firms risk losing the race over investments in his country’s economy to their international rivals as a result of US sanctions.

“By banning ExxonMobil from working in our Arctic, (the US) only deprived it from an interesting, promising project, that could have boosted the US economy and created more jobs in the US, bringing in revenues and taxes,” Putin told reporters in Vietnam.

“Your (US companies’) place will be taken over by rivals. It is inevitable in the modern world.” The Russian president emphasised that there was a great appetite in international corporations for investments in the Russian economy. He added that American businesses were specifically eager to approach the Russian market as was evident from the high number of US participants in St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in June.

Putin further said although relations with Washington were still “in a state of crisis,” Moscow was ready “to turn the page and move on, look into the future and solve problems important both to the people of the US and Russia.” He also expressed hope for cooperation within the “sphere of security, and of economic interaction, which has dropped to virtually zero.”

In 2011, former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson clinched a deal with Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft, paving the way for exploration in the Russian Arctic, the Black Sea, and Siberia, according to a report by the website of the Russian television news channel Russian Today. However, US sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis forced Exxon to suspend its cooperation, costing the company up to $1 billion in losses, RT.com added. The US and its allies already levied broad economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged support for pro-Russia separatist forces in eastern Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia after a referendum in 2014. The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, which was initiated by Kiev after it deployed forces to crack down on pro-democracy autonomy-seekers in the Russian-speaking region, has left more than 10 000 people dead.

The US has also imposed a series of sanctions against Russia as punishment over Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The US intelligence community believes Putin personally ordered a cyber campaign to help US President Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential race. Trump has repeatedly rejected such reports and has expressed support for improving relations with Moscow. — Press TV.

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