Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann signs modernisation declaration with Russia

Bern, 13.07.2011 - Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs (FDEA), signed a joint statement on cooperation for economic modernisation in Kolomna today with the Russian Minister for Economic Development, Elvira Nabiullina. The signing ceremony was attended by President Micheline Calmy-Rey and the Russian President Dimitri Medvedev.

As part of his three-day economic mission to Russia, the head of the FDEA today signed a joint statement on economic modernisation with Economic Development Minister Nabiullina, which is intended to encourage mutual investment, drive innovation in emerging technologies, enhance competitiveness and foster contacts between business partners in both countries.

Whilst with this joint statement each country formally expresses its willingness to cooperate for economic modernisation, the ‘Swiss-Russian action plan on bilateral economic cooperation for 2011 to 2013' signed in August 2010 in Sochi sets out concrete areas on which cooperation will concentrate in the coming years. These include energy efficiency, machine engineering, health and information and nanotechnologies. The range of joint activities may grow in the future. The Joint Commission will draw up a list of all the current and planned joint projects; this list will be updated on a regular basis.

By 2010 the Russian economy had largely recovered from the effects of the financial and economic crisis and is now enjoying a new period of growth. GDP grew 4% compared with the previous year. The figures for bilateral trade have nearly reached those of 2008. Imports from Russia (CHF 1.0 billion, 41% up on previous year) and exports to Russia (CHF 2.6 billion, 26% up on previous year) have grown considerably. There was a positive foreign trade balance with Russia of CHF 1.6 billion. Swiss direct investment in Russia at the end of 2009 was CHF 6.2 billion (2008: CHF 5.3 billion), with Swiss companies in Russia employing 75,000 persons.

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