Russian and British companies could switch to settlements in rubles and pounds, abandoning US currency transactions, in case of political and economic necessity, said Boris Abramov, Russian trade representative in the UK.
Cutting out the US dollar: Russia & UK may switch to settlements in national currencies
He told RIA Novosti that Russian firms doing business with Britain could switch to settlements in pound sterling at any moment, if necessary.
“The British pound is a freely convertible currency like the US dollar and the euro,” said Abramov.
He explained that for a Russian company it is very easy to open an account in pounds in a Russian or foreign bank. It could also get the sterling at the Moscow stock exchange.
At the same time, switching to ruble settlements is not so easy for the British companies, since there are no ruble accounts in England and “banks do not understand how stable the Russian currency is…”
Abramov, however, added that in case of “political obstacles” or any restrictions on the use of the greenback, there will be an immediate shift towards other currencies, such as the pound or the euro.
According to him, for the first time since 2014 Moscow and London have resumed talks on the development of trade relations.
Though Russia is not a key market for the UK, it is a very important one, Abramov said, adding bilateral trade totaled more than $12 billion in 2017. “Britain is interested not only in maintaining this level, but also in increasing it,” he said.