|Follow us on:|
Speaking at a business forum in Trieste, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Italy is “handling well the difficult situation in the European and global economy”.
Forecasts by the European Union commission says Italy’s debt is projected to rise to 134 per cent of GDP next year from 133 per cent this year.
Russia and Italy are targeting bilateral trade of $50 billion this year, President Putin said on Tuesday after talks with the Italian prime minister.
“Italy is fourth among Russia’s largest trade partners,” said the Russian leader who also held talks with the Italian president on Monday.
“Bilateral trade has been growing. This year, despite problems in the global and European economy, it will grow by another 24 per cent. I think it will reach or even exceed the $50 billion mark.”
Major agreements signed by the two sides include deals on customs and banking sectors, on creating a joint venture, a Russian-Italian investment fund, extraction of hydrocarbons for oil deliveries, says a Kremlin statement.
“We set ourselves the goal of moving on to full-scale industrial cooperation. We intend to further encourage business contacts, including between small and medium-sized businesses,” said Putin.
Bilateral trade last year totalled $45.8 billion and grew 24 per cent in January through September this year.
Putin said Russia’s investment in Italy over the past four years quadrupled to $500 million, while Italy’s investment in Russia grew to $1 billion.
The new joint fund, financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund and Italy’s Deposits and Loans Fund, is set to be operational in 2014.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund was set up in June 2011 to make investments in the authorised capital in Russia jointly with leading foreign investors.