NOVO-OGARYOVO, June 16. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he was satisfied with the talks with his visiting Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto.
"The talks were held in a business and constructive atmosphere. We discussed in detail the current state of bilateral relations, exchanged views on topical international problems," Putin told a news conference after the talks.
"Naturally, we spoke about prospects for the development of our relations," he said. "We have a vast resource in trade and investment cooperation, we have good cross-border and interregional ties. But we had to focus special attention on economic cooperation."
"In the first decade of the 21st century, bilateral trade grew almost six-fold to reach 22.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2008. But in 2014, trade shrank and this downwards tendency went on into the first quarter of 2015," the Russian president said, adding that the talks with the Finnish leader had touched upon ways to get out of this situation. "We believe it is necessary to use all the instruments we have created in the past years to work in this area," he said. "The more so as both sides’ businessmen are interested in launching new projects." As an example, he cited the growth of Finnish direct investments to Russia and amounted to 452 million U.S. dollars in the first three quarters of 2014 to reach an aggregate of 12 billion U.S. dollars.
The Russian president said he had discussed with his Finnish counterpart the implementation of large-scale bilateral projects, including the construction of a nuclear plant in Finland and cooperation in the area of ship-building. "Joint work in the area of ship-building continues. It has become possible after Russia’s United Ship-building Corporation bought a 100% stake in the Helsinki shipyard in December 2014," he said. "Production facilities have orders till 2017, with overall portfolio amounting to some 800 million U.S. dollars."
Putin also spoke about cooperation in the sphere of tourism. "Russians account for 32% of foreign tourists visiting Finland. The market of services to Russian tourists is estimated at 4.4 billion euro," he said.