Russian authorities are prepared to work with European businesses in spite of the current political situation dominating the relations between Russia and the EU, Andrei Belyaninov, the director of the Federal Customs Service said on Monday night at a workshop for Benelux business people.

The workshop was organized by the Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce for the businessmen working with Russia and Belarus and brought together the executives and experts from more that fifty European companies.

“Russia remains open to working with European businesses,” Belyaninov said. “It’s important for the business community to continue playing the lead in cooperation between Russia and Benelux.

He indicated that many niches the European companies had traditionally occupied on the Russian market were being rapidly taken by Russia’s partners in Asia now that relations between Moscow and the EU were deadlocked by reciprocal sanctions. “Nature doesn’t tolerate emptiness,” he said.”

“It’d be highly regrettable to lose the traditions and the very useful and mutually beneficial ties that have been accumulated over many long years and that’s why we need to tap mutually acceptable terms for cooperation amid the political reality of today.”

Numerous projects related to the upgrading of the quality and efficiency of Russia’s customs administration on the basis of IT were presented in detail in the course of the workshop. Some of them were related to the customs clearance of cargoes and the mutual recognition of the results of customs formalities.

European business executives were also familiarized with the changes in Russian customs laws in the light of enlargement of the Eurasian Economic Union and received firsthand information on all the issues arousing their interest.

The head of Belgium’s General Administration of Customs and Excise (GAC&E), Christian Vandervaeren said the Belgiums had no plans to renounce partnership with Russia even in the conditions of the current sanctions. He indicated that Belgium occupied the fifth position on the list the EU’s largest exporters to Russia.