Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arrived in the Netherlands on a state visit Tuesday, told Dutch business leaders that bilateral trade was expected to reach about $25 billion by the end of 2005. Last year, he said, bilateral trade totaled $16.5 billion, whereas this year it has reached $15 billion already. "Trade has grown at a record high rate every year," Putin said. "Dutch capital investment in the Russian economy in the last five years has increased 20-fold... This is an absolute record."
Direct investment accounts for more than two-thirds of the figure, he added.
Putin admitted that money had been mainly invested in Russia's fuel and energy sector, but added that Dutch business had become increasingly interested in other sectors as well and maintained cooperation with Russian regions.
He said trade between Russia's Sverdlovsk region, the Urals, and the Netherlands had exceeded $675 million in 2004. The figure for St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city, was $400 million, the president said, adding that the Sverdlovsk and Kaluga governors were members of the Russian delegation.
News source: rian.ru
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