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Swedish companies stay in Russia despite sanctions, tensions - official

"Trade-economic relations continue in the ‘business as usual’ format," the co-chairman of the Russian-Swedish Business Council said

STOCKHOLM, November 24. /TASS/. Swedish companies are not going to leave the Russian market despite a tense international situation and economic sanctions imposed against Russia over Ukraine, the co-chairman of the Russian-Swedish Business Council, Vladimir Dmitriev, said in Stockholm on Thursday.

"Despite sanctions and a tense international situation on the whole, trade-economic relations continue in the ‘business as usual’ format," said Dmitriev, who took part in a Russian-Swedish investment forum at the Russian Trade Mission in Sweden.

"Swedish companies that have been operating in Russia since long are not going to curb their activity, while some even expand it. For example, Ikea - despite the problems that emerge," said Dmitriev, who is also vice president of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "Many companies produce component parts in Russia," he said.

Vice President of Ericsson Ulf Persson, for his part, said it was important to restore activity of the Russian-Swedish supervisory committee for trade and economic cooperation, suspended almost three years ago.

Russia’s Republic of Karelia, the Moscow region, Skolkovo research hub and some companies of the two countries presented their potentials to potential investors and partners.

Trade between Sweden and Russia declined between 2012 and 2015 from $10.1bln to $4.3 bln. This figure shrank by 16.4% year-on-year in the first nine months of this year, making up $2.75 billion.

Following the incorporation of Crimea after a coup in Ukraine, Moscow came under sanctions on from the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon ramped up following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia was supporting the militias in self-proclaimed republics of Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in the destabilization of Ukraine.

As countermeasures, on August 6, 2014, Russia imposed a produce ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

On July 1, the European Union extended the sectoral economic sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2017. Reciprocally, Moscow has also lengthened the titfor-tat embargo imposed two years ago.