"Days of French-Russian trade and economic cooperation" have opened in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris. Taking part in the event are more than 200 representatives of French enterprises and firms, as well as leaders of chambers of commerce and industry and ministers of foreign economic relations of Russia's two biggest cities -- Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as the Sverdlovsk Region (the Urals), one of the country's most highly developed industrial regions.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference, Russia's ambassador in France Alexander Avdeyev stressed that the volume of Russian-French trade and economic relations keeps constantly growing and today totals to 3.4 billion Euro. However, he noted, this level is obviously insufficient and should be increased, above all, by developing cooperation between French enterprises and investors and regions of Russia.
Patrick Berger, the trade and economic counsellor of the French embassy in Russia, noted in his speech at the conference that thanks to the progressive growth of Russia's economy the current trade and economic exchanges between the two countries have already reached the pre-August 1998 level, and in some directions even exceed it. At present, said Patrick Berger, more than 400 French firms and enterprises are represented in Russia, while 3,800 French enterprises export their output to Russia.
The French diplomat named as examples of French investors coming to the Russian market the construction of a plant to produce tyres of the well-known French firm Michelin going up some 100 km from Moscow and the big French supermarket Auchan that will shortly open its doors in Moscow.
The Days will last till June 26th.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969