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HELSINKI, November 13 (Itar-Tass) — Finland is interested in developing cooperation with Tatarstan in such industries as construction, oil and gas, energy efficiency and “green” technology (renewable energy and waste management), as well as education and tourism. Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb will discuss prospects for the expansion of ties in these spheres with the leadership of Tatarstan during his three-day visit to the republic beginning on Tuesday.
The press centre of the Finnish Foreign Ministry told Itar-Tass that “during the visit the Finnish minister will hold talks with President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and Prime Minister Ildar Khalikov with whom he will open a bilateral business forum.”
Alexander Stubb will also visit the mayor’s office of Kazan and will deliver a lecture at Kazan University. He will also chair a meeting of the working group for cooperation between Finland and Tatarstan that works within the framework of the Finnish-Russian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation, which this year marks the 10th anniversary of its activities.
“Finland is committed to the development of intensive cooperation with Russian regions,” the Finnish Foreign Ministry emphasized. “Along with Moscow and St. Petersburg, there are many major markets in Russia among cities with a population of over one million, including Kazan.” Tatarstan, according to the Finnish side, “is one of the most dynamically developing centres of Russia, particularly in the IT-sector.” The purpose of the current visit of the Finnish minister who is accompanied by a delegation of representatives from about 30 companies, is the deepening of the existing long-term cooperation, the promotion of new contacts and strengthening the position of Finnish companies on the local market.
Trade turnover between Tatarstan and Finland is estimated at several hundred million US dollars. In 2010, its volume was reduced to 250 million US dollars due to the global economic crisis. In March 2011, Tatarstan’s delegation headed by President Minnikhanov visited Helsinki and signed several major contracts with Finnish companies.
The Tatar diaspora in Finland that is nearly 1,000-strong dates back to the 19th century. Since 1935, the Tatar Cultural Society, Tatar schools and a kindergarten have been working in the country.