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Volvo Assembly Plant to Open in Moscow Region Tomorrow - 19 March, 2003

The opening ceremony of a joint plant for assembling Volvo vehicles will be held in the town of Zelenograd (near Moscow) on March 20. This was announced yesterday at a press conference entitled 'Russia - Sweden: prospects for cooperation' by Swedish Ambassador Henrik Hirdman.

In reply to a question from Rosbalt's correspondent, the ambassador said that the factory is intended to produce 500 lorries a year, although it will only start to work at full capacity after a year to a year and a half. In 2003 it is planned that the Russian-Swedish plant will learn assembly procedures and will produce only 200-300 lorries. Hirdman said that all parts will initially be supplied from Sweden, although in the future the plant will partially move over to Russian-made parts.

Speaking about trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, the ambassador said that the priority at the moment is implementing joint projects in the North-West region of Russia. A joint factory producing Skania buses is currently operating successfully in St. Petersburg. Hirdman also said that a new water-treatment plant is currently being built in the Kaliningrad Region with EBRD funding (the cost of the project is about USD 12-15 million). An agreement has been signed for a project to modernise the south-eastern water-treatment plant in St. Petersburg. In addition, noted the ambassador, programmes are being developed on collaboration in healthcare, in particular to prevent and treat tuberculosis and AIDS.

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