Source Pravda.Ru

Patricia Hewitt to discuss topical issues in Moscow

Patricia Hewitt, who serves as Great Britain's Secretary for Trade and Industry, is to discuss energy-and-investment cooperation prospects during her two-day Russian visit.

Talking to RIA Novosti, Ms. Hewitt's aide noted that her visit is aimed at strengthening trade-and-investment ties between Russia and the United Kingdom. She will also discuss a number of international trade-and-energy issues with her Russian counterparts.

Patricia Hewitt is to arrive in the Russian capital in the afternoon of June 24, lunching with representatives of Russia's business community that same day. The visit's main program is scheduled for June 25.

Patricia Hewitt is to open an oil-and-gas seminar in the morning of June 25; that seminar will be organized under the auspices of the LUK-Oil corporation, involving representatives of Russian and British energy companies.

Hewitt would be expected to meet Russian Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, as well as Industry and Energy Minister Victor Khristenko.

After that, she will attend a special business seminar for Russian business women.

Hewitt will organize a press conference dealing with her visit's results at the British Embassy in the evening of June 25. The British delegation headed by Hewitt will subsequently fly over to London.

Speaking in the British capital not so long ago, Hewitt said she didn't want British businessmen to miss specific opportunities for investing into a more prosperous, stable and attractive Russia. We must take advantage of such opportunities already now because they would otherwise be lost tomorrow, she added.

In her words, some investors faced certain difficulties; they are also apprehensive of Russian realities. Meanwhile the United Kingdom's trade-and-investment agency renders all necessary assistance to all those aspiring for cooperation, Hewitt stressed.

More than 400 British companies, including such giants as Cadbury, Scottish & Newcastle, Shell, British Petroleum, Glaxo-Smith-Kline and Unilever, now operate on Russian territory. However, many more large and small companies have ample opportunities for doing business in Russia, Hewitt went on to say.

The British Department of Trade and Industry estimates that British exports to Russia had soared by 43 percent over the 2003 period, totalling 1.4 billion pounds, what with Russian export volumes increasing by 24 percent.

Great Britain mostly exports office equipment, cars, production goods, telecommunications and radio equipment, as well as industrial and power-generating equipment, to Russia.

Russia exports petroleum products, non-ferrous metals, coke and coal to Great Britain.