On June 17, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is to open the official part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The forum is dedicated to global economy, to the role of developing states in the world, to new technologies and to increasing Russia's investment prospects.
The leaders of six states are participating in the forum. Medvedev will conduct negotiations with, among others, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez Zapatero, Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Spain, whose delegation is chaired by Zapatero, is a guest of honor at the forum. With the Finnish president, Medvedev is going to discuss the strengthening of the dialogue between Russia, the EU and NATO, RIA Novosti reports. With Nazarbayev, Medvedev will be discussing the issues related to space exploration, energy industry and transport.
As we have previously reported, Russia is going to purchase two Mistral helicopter carriers from France in the amount of 1.1 billion euros. Russia will also receive ship-building technologies within the scope of the deal. The two vessels will be assembled at STX shipyard in France.
The cost of the ships will make up 980 million euros. The cost of the personnel training and the delivery of technologies is evaluated at over 120 million euros.
As for Russia's WTO membership, US Ambassador to Russia John Byerle stated that it was one of the priorities for the Obama administration to see Russia as a WTO member. According to him, Russia's incorporation in the WTO and the adequate reduction of tariffs will increase Russia's GDP by 14 percent during the forthcoming years.
Russia and the United States need a new investment agreement, Byerle also said. The new agreement will be signed after Russia joins the WTO to protect investors' interests, he added. The USA currently invests only 0.5% of the total amount of US overseas investments in spite of the fact that Russia is world's tenth largest economy.
Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom may sign an important contract with China's PetroChina International for the delivery of natural gas from Russia. According to Bloomberg, the Russian-Chinese natural gas agreement is to be signed by Dmitry Medvedev and Hu Jintao during Jintao's four-day visit to St. Petersburg. The new contract is expected to be signed despite the current price discrepancies between the two countries.
China remains Russia's largest trade partner. Last year, the amount of mutual trade increased by 50 percent - up to $59 billion a year. By 2020, China intends to triple internal consumption of gas.
Gazprom plans to supply gas to China on two pipelines from 2015. The total capacity of the pipelines has been evaluated at 68 billion cubic meters, which makes up 60 percent of China's gas consumption in 2010.