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Russian PM to hold talks with Finnish counterpart

January 29, 8:46 UTC+3 St PETERSBURG
For Juha Sipila, this is the first visit to Russia in the capacity of the Prime Minister
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Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev

Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev

© Ekaterina Shtukina/Russian presidential press service/TASS

ST PETERSBURG, January 29. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is expected to get meet his Finnish counterpart Juha Sipila who will come to Russia to discuss cooperation in trade, investment, the energy sector, research, and the humanitarian sphere.

For Juha Sipila, this is the first visit to Russia in the capacity of the Prime Minister. He took the position last May after his party’s victory in the parliamentary election.

The two Prime Ministers will hold talks tete-a-tete and will be joined by their delegations in full force, after which they will tell reporters about the results.

"Although the discouraging political background and the line taken by the EU, of which Finland is a member, have exerted an impact on bilateral relations and practical contacts, one can state the reserve of good-neighborliness accumulated over the previous decades has made it possible to keep up the constructive, pragmatic and non-confrontational character the Russian-Finnish relations are marked by," the press service of the Russian cabinet of ministers said.

But along with it the Russian government stated the current slump in bilateral trade at present.

"Standing behind it is a range of objective macroeconomic factors and the tangible economic impact of the EU policy of sanctions," the press service said.

As an instance of this, it cited the trade turnover that shrank by 15% in 2014 and by another 39% from January through November 2015 to stand at $8.9 billion. "Russian exports totaled $ 6.6 billion (down 37%) and the imports from Finland, $2.4 billion (down 45%)," the report said.

Russian exports shrank in terms of costs but remained stable in the majority of case as regards the physical volumes. On the face of it, the physical volumes of imports from Finland reduced by 34.5%.

In 2014, Russia stopped being Finland’s biggest trade partner for the first time since 2008. It occupies the third position after Germany and Sweden at present, with about 650 Finnish companies operating on the Russian market.

The biggest Russian project in Finland is the construction of Hanhikivi 1 nuclear plant, which the Finnish company Fennovoima is building in cooperation with the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom on the basis of Russian technologies in the northwest of the country.

The first phase of preparations for the construction works was completed on October 15, 2015. Production of electric power at the plant is to begin in 2024. The project costs an estimated $7 billion.

The two countries also have a major project in the shipbuilding industry. In 2014, Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) purchased the Arctech Helsinki Shipyard that specializes in building multirole ships with enhanced ice reinforcement, including the ones for operations at Russian Arctic offshore oil and gas deposits.

The shipyard has an $ 800 million worth portfolio of prospective orders.

"Efforts to tap workable patterns for ensuring the rights of children in conflict situations in the Russian-speaking and mixed families that live in Finland remain topical for Russia," the press service said. "Appropriate agencies in Russia and Finland have worked out efficacious forms of cooperation in this area in recent years."

Apart from the talks with Juha Sipila, Dmitry Medvedev also has a meeting with Belarusian Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov on Friday. "The Prime Ministers will discuss the status of bilateral trade, joint work in the framework of the Russia-Belarus Union State and cooperative ties in the Eurasian Economic Union (embracing Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia)," the press service said.

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