'Reset button' with Russia benefits U.S. business

A Russian flag on the State Duma (parliament) stands at half-mast.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: After President Obama took office, he pressed a symbolic 'reset' button in relations with Russia. The move was supposed to help ease tensions from the end of the Bush administration. This week marks two years since the 'reset,' and we have seen some major diplomatic deals come from it.

But it was about more than politics, as Peter van Dyk reports from Moscow.


PETER VAN DYK: The two countries may have reset their political relations, but business leaders say companies are the ones who are really powering up. Pepsico, Exxon and Boeing have all sealed billion-dollar deals in Russia in the past half-year.

Those deals would have been much harder -- if not impossible -- to pull off without better ties between the Kremlin and the White House. There have been no concrete changes, but Andrew Somers, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, says the diplomatic mood-change has changed the atmosphere for business.

ANDREW SOMERS: Business feels more confident that they can make significant investments with less risk.

He says making money here makes jobs in the U.S.

SOMERS: American companies who have invested here have done extremely well in terms of profitability, and that in turn leads to a healthier state for the companies back home and allows them to hire more people.

Those hires could come in the U.S. high-tech sector -- Biden will visit Russia's answer to Silicon Valley, where Microsoft is leading the way by investing millions.

In Moscow, I'm Peter van Dyk for Marketplace.

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