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St. Petersburg forum starts off with a cannon bang from Peter and Paul fortress

The city plans to sign agreements to the tune of 300 billion rubles

ST. PETERSBURG, June 15. /TASS/. The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum opened with a midday bang from the Peter and Paul Fortress cannon, fired by Governor Alexander Beglov and Chairman of the city’s legislative assembly Alexander Belsky.

The governor noted that the forum holds great significance for the city. St. Petersburg plans to sign agreements to the tune of 300 billion rubles ($5.2 bln)

"We are ready to sign a large number of agreements totaling about 300 billion rubles. That is a good figure. We could have done even more. We believe it is vital that these are smart investments. Our territory is not that big. We cannot build a steel plant or some other huge industry here. However, we can modernize what industry we have, and therefore we are working on creating our own technology, highly-paid and high-tech production. New opportunities are opening for us. Indeed, today is an entirely different era. We are not fazed by other existing problems, such as [the ongoing] sanctions. This will only strengthen us and enable our city develop even more," Beglov noted.

He noted that, this year, the city celebrates another important anniversary - the 350th birthday of Peter the Great. St. Petersburg’s stand on the forum is partially dedicated to this event, as well.

"Indeed, this year’s forum is special due to both the 350th anniversary of Peter I and [the 25th] anniversary of the forum. The whole world can see that the window, made by Peter I, is not shutting. This Economic Forum proves it. And the investors are calm, because they see that the country has exited the crisis that Western states had sought to throw it into while remaining stable. We have calmly weathered the sanctions storm imposed on us. This is the most important thing for the people and states who want to partner with us. The status of this event remains at a high international level. It is very important to show now that our country is developing steadily. We see that agreements for rather large sums of money that will be signed have been announced," Belsky added.

SPIEF is being held between June 15 and 18, this year’s forum is dubbed: ‘New Opportunities in a New World’. A number of other events will take place beyond the business program, among them are the SME Forum, the Creative Business Forum, the Drug Security Forum, the SPIEF Junior Dialogue and SPIEF Sport Week. TASS serves as the event’s official photo hosting agency and the information partner.