Tatarstan in Trump’s America: secrets of Uber, milk for Mars and postponed arrival of Bakhetle to the States

After Tatarstan delegation’s trip to the USA, the head of the Ministry of Communications of Tatarstan forecasted a warming of the Russia-U.S. relations

Tatarstan in Trump’s America: secrets of Uber, milk for Mars and postponed arrival of Bakhetle to the States Photo: prav.tatar.ru

A briefing dedicated to the business trip of a delegation of Tatarstan to the USA took place on 15 November. By the way, the visit coincided with the end of the U.S. Presidential Election. Functionaries told about the negotiations. A planned cooperation with big candymaker Mars, work on education with Boeing and a 'secret' joint project with Uber can be considered as the most important results. In addition, the Tatarstan delegation managed to meet with the Tatar community in the USA and estimate the sentiment of Americans after Donald Trump's victory.

Friendship with Boeing and new residents for Alabuga and Khimgrad

Minister of Information and Communications of the Republic of Tatarstan Roman Shaikhutdinov together with Director of the Investment Development Agency Taliya Minullina drew conclusions of the Tatarstan delegation's business trip headed by Rustam Minnikhanov. The speakers told about the turnover of the USA with Russia and Tatarstan in order to understand the scale of the cooperation. So, in 2015, the turnover in Russia made up $21bn (a 28% fall compared with 2014). Speaking about the republic, the turnover reached $285m last year – in this case, the fall totalled 43%.

Seattle was the first destination of the trip where the Tatarstan delegation visited two Boeing factories. This visit has a small background that began on the Sochi Forum when representatives of Tatarstan met with the head of Boeing in Russia Sergey Kravchenko who invited our delegation to visit the factory in America. Taliya Minullina told the company managed to reduce its costs of production and simultaneously increase the efficiency by almost 40% in the last several years. The market was interested in this unique experience, so now Boeing started to join educational processes. Tatarstan went into business on cooperation in education that presupposes a delivery of lectures in our enterprises and for our students. Taliya Minullina was asked whether a cooperation in production was planned: 'In production, no. But you keep dreaming'.

In Seattle, the Tatarstan delegation visited two Boeing factories. Photo: prav.tatar.ru

Apart from that, a new resident Light Minerals is expected to appear in Alabuga SEZ. The claimed volume of investments is 845 million rubles. In turn, in December 2016, Khimgrad will have a company producing protecting optical nano-solutions for petrochemistry.

The Tatarstan delegation also met with representatives of Medtronic, a company that manufactures medical equipment. According to Taliya Minullina, the Republic of Tatarstan is interested in the localisation of the factory, while Americans – in the sale of their products. As a result, a special working group will be created in Tatarstan, and Medtronic will plan to visit our republic. The situation with Caterpillar that produces machinery is analogous. They also met with representatives of Mars. The head of the Investment Development Agency of Tatarstan says Russia has many factories that need feedstock. And Tatarstan is ready to come in handy here: 'We discussed our help, especially in milk supply. They are using powdered milk for production. At President's instruction, a working group with the Ministry of Agriculture of Tatarstan and Ministry of Industry and Trade of Tatarstan will be created'. The republic will be acquainted with the standards and requirements to Mars production in the short run. It is planned to discuss the agreements in detail during two months.

The head of the Investment Development Agency of Tatarstan says Russia has many factories that need feedstock. And Tatarstan is ready to come in handy here. Photo: Roman Khasaev

'Secret' project with Uber and meeting with American Tatars

'This year our visit has been rather industrial. Despite such a foreign political overtone, IT keeps being a point of cooperation, though many people say that such a cooperation of Russian programmers and American clients in IT worsens the achievements,' Minister of Communications of Tatarstan Roman Shaikhutdinov started his speech.

The speaker told about a visit to Google: Tatarstan is planning to actively develop several areas in education together with the American IT giant. In addition, our delegation met with representatives of the 'most unusual accelerator' called 500 Startups. The company helps young teams to make their ideas a real and profitable business. The minister says Tatarstan has a business incubator. Consequently, there is interest in the analysis of startup selection, and the American 'accelerator' has experience in this matter.

It seems that a visit to Uber was the most curious and profitable one for Tatarstan. As a consequence, the company will fulfil its projects with support of Tatarstan. Journalists were promised to be told all the details because Uber asked to keep silence 'before additional design'.

'Uber is a public company, you know. Any change of information background of this company can considerably increase and reduce its price. We have two projects that we hope to fulfil. We will certainly do it in Tatarstan. They are linked with a better quality of life and investment attractiveness of the region,' Roman Shaikhutdinov commented.

A visit to Uber was the most curious and profitable one for Tatarstan, said Roman Shaikhutdinov. Photo: Roman Khasaev

The head of the Investment Development Agency of Tatarstan, in turn, made an unclear assessment of the cooperation of Russia and Tatarstan with the USA: There are two moments. One is good, the other is bad. It is a good moment that American business is ready to work with Russia and Tatarstan, of course. The bad news is that we are frankly not completing job in this area. We are doing our best to change it.'

The president of Tatarstan also met with the Tatar diaspora during the visit. It should be noted that over 2,000 Kazan Tatars live in America. And quite a serious diaspora is located in San Francisco. After the meeting, Rustam Minnikhanov charged the organisation with helping them with the preparation of Sabantuy in San Francisco next year. American Tatars also asked to help with the supply of literature for studying Tatar language and creation of a Tatar-English and English-Tatar dictionary in Latin and Cyrillic script. Their request to open a Bakhetle supermarket in the States received a negative answer at the moment.

'History has a sinusoidal motion'

We should say the trip of the Tatarstan delegation to the States took place from 9 to 11 November, that is to say, at the height of the election campaign. The speakers tried to describe the sentiments reigning in the country after Donald Trump's election as new president.

'We were in a state that did not vote for Trump. It is clear that America was divided in half. Such a division in the country shows that a great number of endemic problems has accumulated. One American said (his words sum up many people's opinion): 'We will have very interesting four years', Shaikhutdinov told.

The press also asked whether the Tatarstan delegation's visit was deliberately planned in such a 'hot' period. However, Taliya Minullina denied all the guesswork. 'The trip was planned 6 months beforehand. It had nothing to do with the elections. These elections did not affect us. The only thing I can say is that Americans were enthusiastic and excited about the made choice that we respect.'

A meeting of the American and Russian Business Council took place in San Francisco. Photo: prav.tatar.ru

Answering an anonymous question sent online whether the speakers saw any contradiction that America imposed sanctions on us, but we were improving the cooperation, Minullina replied clearly: 'Our key goal is to develop the economy. We think we are doing everything correctly'.

'The history has a sinusoidal motion, you know. I think now we are going through a watershed, so to speak. Following the statistics, a warming [of relations of Russia with the USA] should be expected. First of all, in economic relations. We hope for it. We do our best for it as a region. We are the first region to be in the USA after the end of the election campaign. Yes, the date was known a long time ago. But nothing happens by chance,' Shaikhutdinov mysteriously smiled.

By Lina Sarimova