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German businessmen want visa-free regime with Russia

February 21, 2014, 19:13 UTC+3 21

The German-Russian Chamber of Commerce calls for a visa-free regime with Russia

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© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Geodakyan

BERLIN, February 21. /ITAR-TASS/. The German-Russian Chamber of Commerce calls for a visa-free regime with Russia, president of the organization Rainer Seele said on Friday at a conference devoted to improving Russia’s investment image in Germany.

Among the participants in the event are Russia’s Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev and Germany’s Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

“The issue of a visa regime is on the agenda,” Seele said. “Our countries have such strong friendly relations that nobody needs existing visa requirements.”

“The German-Russian Chamber of Commerce will call for a visa-free regime between our states,” he said. “But what we can offer our Russian partners just now is easing visa requirements for businessmen. Next month, the Chamber in Moscow will open a special desk at the visa centre for its employees to facilitate the procurement of visas.”

“We will act as a guarantor for our representatives,” Seele said, adding that the Chamber had already received the German Foreign Ministry’s support.

“It will be right if German businesses’ voice here will be the voice of reason,” Germany’s Deputy Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said. “We can achieve progress in this sphere.”

“We do not have to hide behind the EU’s authority,” he said, noting that Germany “is interested in expanding economic relations with Russia” despite existing differences on a number of issues, also while assessing the situation in Ukraine.

“We should ensure a dialogue and hold discussions on these issues,” Gabriel said.

Martin Wansleben, the director of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said in his turn that German businessmen “aim to establish cooperation from Vladivostok to Lisbon”.

“We support this,” he added. “Commerce chambers have a great experience of working together. And they constantly share this experience with their counterparts.”

The German-Russian Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of all German companies active on the Russian market and of all Russian businesses operating in Germany. The Chamber has over 800 German, Russian and other members and several branches across the country.

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