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President Putin Meets With German Businessmen

Oct. 12, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin met today in Sochi with owners, board chairmen and CEOs of about 20 major German firms active in Russia, including Bauer, Wintershall, Linde, Knauf, Siemens, Metro, and others, at the initiative of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations. President Putin was joined at the meeting of about 50 persons in total by President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.

Putin said that although China had surpassed Germany as Russia’s leading trade partner, German-Russian economic relations had not weakened at all, but strengthened, and that German-Russian trade had increased 25% over the last year. It was noted that German investment is growing, with new companies opening practically every week.

Putin set a particular task of increasing the involvement of small and medium-sized businesses in Russian-German trade, in part to further Russia’s goal of raising the share of small and medium-sized businesses in its own economy up to 40% by 2030.

Wolfgang Buchele, the chairman of the German committee, said that German polls invariably show support for friendly relations with Russia, and that the sides should overcome stagnation in relations—this desire will be a guideline for the new German Federal Government. The committee supports the German government’s opposition to new, potentially extra-territorial American sanctions, and will do all it can to overcome any uncertainty which might curtail new investments. "At present, Germany is very positive as regards investment in Russia, and I strongly hope this will remain the case in the future as well."

"The activities of German companies in Russia and Russian businesses in Germany are on the upsurge. We consider this a brilliant example of very good and successful economic development. This is why I think it would be appropriate to talk about new joint projects today.

"We believe Russia’s main trial, challenge and number one political task is to continue optimising its infrastructure, increasing labour productivity, for example, by introducing new technologies, and developing competitive export goods with a high share of localization in Russia.

"Thus, German manufacturing companies that have a presence in Russia and invest in Russia, intend to sell their goods not only in Russia but also export them to other countries.

"Therefore, it is important for us to have value chains in the country that would receive components and raw materials in Russia and would not have to import them, and this is the path we should follow together. However, I believe that there are good prospects for development here."