SOCHI, May 17. /TASS/. Russia and Italy have discussed concrete plans on development of bilateral interaction, President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
"During the talks with the prime minister we discussed in detail the whole range of cooperation and outlined concrete plans for its further development," he said.
Putin recalled that Italy is one of Russia’s leading foreign trade partners.
In 2016, the bilateral trade turnover amounted to about $20 billion, "although for some objective reasons this figure is significantly lower than in the peak year of 2013," Putin said.
According to the Russian leader, today there are reasons for optimism because in the beginning of the year the turnover grew by almost 30%. Also, Italian investments in the Russian economy total more than $1 billion, while Russian investments in Italy stand at $2.4 billion.
The Russian president also invited representatives of the Italian business community to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, recalling that last year only Italy signed more than 20 agreements for a total of $1.3 billion at that venue.
The Russian leader marked the cooperation on space explorations between the countries. He recalled that Italian astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA) Paolo Nespoli will be in the line-up of the next crew on the International Space Station (ISS).
Speaking about cooperation on culture and tourism, Putin said that 710,000 Russian tourists visited Italy in 2016.
"We expect an increase in the counter tourist flow, for this purpose, special tourist offices were opened in Rome and Milan, which already contributed to the increase in the number of tourists to our country," Putin said.