NAANTALI /Finland/, July 1. /TASS/. The current sanctions have entailed a downturn in trade-and-economic relations between Finland and Russia, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said on Friday after talks with his visiting Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
"I think that the decline in the trade-and-economic relations between Finland and Russia has basically stemmed from the international economic situation. The ruble exchange rate and the oil process have obviously impacted the buying capacity. And, naturally, the sanctions have had their impacts too," he said.
"I would like to say that Finland is observing the sanctions not because of its discipline but because it took part in their elaboration. Implementation of the Minsk agreements is of major importance to improve the situation," he stressed.
Vladimir Putin in his turn noted that production localization in Russia would help to reduce Finland’s economic damage from mutual sanctions.
"What can be the way out in such situation without violating anything?" Putin said. "Such a way exists: localization of production facilities in the Russian territory," the President said.
Investment activity is another method of reducing damages, Putin said.
"Since Finland is a disciplined and reliable partner of European institutions, global changes may take place only after fundamental changes in our relations with the European Union on this issue," he added.
According to the Russian president, Finnish business is interested in cooperation with Russia.
"We continue keeping political contacts with our neighbor, holding partners’ dialog and proactively cooperating in trade and economic sphere. Truly, we sustain significant losses in this sphere in connection with known events in the region," Putin said. "However, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum held just recently in St. Petersburg confirmed interest of our Finnish friends in investment partnership broadening," he said".
About 7,000 Finnish companies are currently working in Russia and many of them are proceeding to production localization in Russia, Putin said. Finland’s capital investments in Russia amount to nearly $7 bln, the Russian President said. "We continue implementing major projects, particularly energy ones," Putin added.
"Our relations indeed rest upon the strong foundation of friendship and neighborliness," the Russian leader said.