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Finland is a good neighbor to Russia
November 28, 2007 20:57

Zubkov meets Finnish PM Matti Vanhanen

PM of Finland paid a visit to Russia on November 27, 2007. The Prime Ministers of the two countries discussed ways of improving operations at the Finnish-Russian border, questions relating to the forest sector such as export duties on timber, cooperation in the field of energy and EU-Russia relations. They also discussed bilateral trade and economic relations and cooperation in the field of transport and the environment.

The Russian Prime Minister, Viktor Zubkov, said the volume of bilateral trade had more than tripled since 2000 and was expected to reach about 15 billion euros ($22 billion) this year. This shows positive and stable development of Russia- Finland relations.

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen highlited the raise of Finnish investments in Russian economy, first of all in oil sphere, though Finnish investors are interested in servise sphere as well. The volume of Finnish investmens in Russia reaches two milliard Euro.

The two countries set the issues of developing cooperation in the field of high technologies and nanotechnologies as one of the most important. Russia would like to borrow the Finnish experience in innovative development.

Mr. Vanhanen claimed at the meeting that it is to support Russias joining the WTO, as Finland, according to Mr.Vanhanen Finland, is observing the Russias development and the cooperation of Russia and the European Union is one of the prior questions for it. The UN regards Russia as a strategic partner. Finlands UN presedensy in 2006 has proved once again that it stands for close relation with Russia.

The premiers draw an example of fruitful cooperation of the two countries. It is a draft of the construction of the high-speed train connection between the two countries. In some years it will take only three and a half hours from St.Petersburg to Helsinki.

The Finnish government is concerned over intentions of the Russian government to raise export duties for unprocessed timber. Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen announced that if Russia introduces protecting custom duties for roundwood it would have dramatic consequences for the neighboring country, as Russian timber imports covers approximately one fifth of Finlands demand for wood. According to Vanhanen, Finland hopes for support of the European Commission in the customs talks with Russia. The premier also expressed hope that Finland would manage to influence Russias position during bilateral talks between Russian and Finnish leadership. Earlier, Finland hinted that the question can be treated as a pre-condition for Russias entering the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The Russian premier told that the energy issue and Nord Stream question was also touched at the meeting. According to Mr. Zubkov the both countries are interested in the gas pipe-line, as it is to provide energy security to the all Nothern Europe. At the moment Russia suggest laying a part of the Nord Stream in the territory of Finland and in its territorial waters.

At the negotiations Matti Vanhanen has claimed the necessity of simplifying visa regime betwen the two countries due to the increase of business contacts.


Irina Fomina


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