Moscow has been forced to seek reliable alternatives for settlements with foreign partners, Anton Siluanov has said
Russia never intended to ditch the US dollar in trade, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in an interview with the TV channel CGTN on Monday. Rather, Moscow was forced to look for alternatives because Western sanctions jeopardized use of the currency in Russia's foreign trade, according to the minister.
"We are not challenging the dollar, the dollar has challenged Russia, so we are looking for alternative settlement mechanisms between our exporters [and] importers so that it is convenient, reliable and beneficial in trade," Siluanov stated.
The official also discussed Moscow's plans for the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB). The Shanghai-based entity was established in 2014 by the bloc's member states - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - with the aim of facilitating payments between the group members and with their trade partners, as well as expanding links and infrastructure projects across the bloc.
Siluanov noted that Russia has already made several proposals to its trade partners with regard to dollar alternatives, and will continue to discuss the matter in the near future. He did not elaborate on what those alternatives could be. However, over the past year Russia has been gradually switching from the dollar to other currencies in trade, particularly the ruble, yuan, and rupee.
He said that Russia is a rightful member of the world economy and plans to retain its place in the global market, with no intentions to "isolate itself."
"Nothing can be done about [countries] that cut off ties with Russia. We will continue to boost our efforts, our trade and mutual investment activity with our other partners," the minister stressed.
The US has lost the trust it used to have as the issuer of the global reserve currency by violating international rules and abandoning fiscal responsibility domestically, according to Siluanov. By extension, it has undermined trust in the dollar, he believes. He noted that the US debt crisis highlights how "key countries that used to set the tone in global finance" are now only causing problems, such as global inflation and surging interest rates.
"Why are we... developing settlements in national currencies? Because we do not know how these countries will behave next, what their inflation will be, how much their currency will be worth, how much more money they will print... There are a lot of questions for these countries - our task is to go our own way to fulfill the tasks that we have set, and to be less dependent on those countries that have proved unfriendly towards Russia."
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