YEKATERINBURG, July 11. /TASS/. Discouraged perception of Russia by people in Sweden impedes trade and economic cooperation between the two countries but the World Cup 2018 championship has kicked off a notable change in this attitude, the Russian Trade Representative in Stockholm, Alexander Abramov said on Wednesday.
He said it on the sidelines of Innoprom 2018 international industrial exhibition underway from July 9 through July 12.
"The Swedes’ notions about Russia put up the main obstacle to cooperation now," Abramov said. "Protracted efforts on the part of Western media, including the Swedish ones, have formed bad perception of our country. For instance, many Swedish nationals think Russia has a high level of corruption."
"But if you ask personally the people working for Swedish companies in Russia whether they have run into cases of corruption, the vast majority of them say they haven’t," he said. "They’ve just heard about it."
"The perception of Russia has changed notably now in the light of FIFA World Cup 2018 championship," Abramov said. "Most business people the Trade Mission keeps up contacts with say they would like to come to Russia for familiarization."
Russia has a surplus in trade with Sweden that does not change over years, he said.
"Russian exports to Sweden consist of crude and oil products by 70% to 80%," Abramov said. "Chemical industry products hold the second position with about 11% and timber and products of woodworking occupy the third place with some 2%"
"Quite naturally, the volume of the trade turnover sways together with the prices of crude but we expect a figure of around $ 4 bln this year," he said.
He also mentioned the recent supplies of Russian Volzhanka small-size ships to Sweden as an instance of non-mineral exports. "Exports are growing thanks to the efforts of medium-sized Russian manufacturers," Abramov said.
"About 350 Swedish companies are operating in Russia now," he said. "Their number has reduced a little since 2014. To the best of our knowledge, the cumulative Swedish investment in the Russian economy stands at around $ 4 bln and exceeds the US, South Korean or Japanese cumulative investment."
Innoprom fairs are held in Yekaterinburg, the largest city in the Urals industrial heartland, as of 2010. The Russian government gave them the status of federal events in 2012. TASS is the principal media partner and the operator of the trade center at Innoproms.