MADRID, July 18 (Itar-Tass) — Matters aimed at stepping up Spanish-Russian trade-and-economic relations will be the focus of attention during a two-day visit to Moscow by Juan Carlos I, the King of Spain. The visit begins on Wednesday. A Foreign Ministry official said the Spanish monarch would be accompanied by Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Jose Manuel Soria, Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, as well as by a group of businessmen representing vatious branches of the Spanish industry and the banking sector.
In 2011, trade turnover between Russia and Span ran at over 10,000 million euros. Russian and Spanish companies signed long-term contracts for the conduct of work to prospect for and produce oil and gas, for the delivery of Talgo express trains to the Russian Railways Company (RZD), and for opening in Russia of a Spanish plant for the manufacture of motor vehicle components. A contract for the upgrading of the Khabarovsk oil processing plant is being successfully implemented with the participation of Spanish firms. Lukoil Company opened a large liquefied-gas terminal at the port of Barcelona earlier this year. However, both sides believe that possibilities for mutually beneficial trade-and-economic cooperation are far from being used to the full.
Russian export to Spain consists, almost 90 percent, of energy resources and petrochemical products. Spain is not quite satisfied with a considerable positive balance in favour of Russia in bilateral trade. Bilateral investments remain at a low level. This is why, local media here point out, during the Spanish monarch's visit to Russia the sides may touch upon such matters as acquisition by Russia of Spanish debt liabilities, which is of great importance for the country which has to resort to foreign borrowings regularly. A possible participation in a tender to build and operate a Moscow-St Petersburg high-speed railway is also of much interest to Spanish companies. A substantial increase in tourism, which last year involved more than one million Russians and Spaniards, can be regarded as being of credit to the growing economic contacts between Russia and Spain.
Both countries also have available great but little-used resources for scientific and technical cooperation.