As talks began in the Belvedere Hall of the Konstantinov Palace between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Premier Peter Medgyessy, Putin expressed gratification that 'our meeting has taken on a regular character that is positively reflected in the work of ministries and business groups of the two countries.'
Putin underlined the significant growth this year in trade between Russia and Hungary, which has become Russia's largest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe, a Rosbalt correspondent reported.
Putin estimated the overall growth in trade for the year as 35% for Russia and 43% for Hungary. At the same time, Russian is aware of and remembers the problems put forward at the last meeting of the two sides-essentially, a lack of balance in trade, Putin said. Putin noted that Russian imports of Hungarian goods was quickly catching up, but 'this is not enough,' the president said.
Putin assured the premier that 'Russia is trying to meet the wish of the Hungarian side for an increase of traditional Hungarian goods in the Russian market.'
Russia's trade turnover with Hungary in 2002 amounted to USD 17.1 million. Exports came to USD 2.8 million and included ferrous metals, machine tools, lumber and wood products and electrical equipment. Imports in 2002 came to USD 14.3 million, including pharmaceuticals, machine tools and lumber. The January-September 2003 period saw a doubling of Saint Petersburg's trade with Hungary as compared with the same period of 2002 and amounted to USD 22.8 million.
On January 15, it was reported that the Russian government began to develop sanctions against several officials at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)