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Putin for reversing decline in bilateral trade with India

Putin for reversing decline in bilateral trade with India Russian President Vladimir Putin today made a strong pitch for reversing the decline in bilateral trade with India but was non-committal on India’s desire for a free trade agreement (FTA).

Russia and India have a huge potential of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, he noted.

“We have recently noted some decrease in bilateral trade due to unfavourable macroeconomic situation in the world. Last year’s trade turnover amounted to 10 billion dollars, which is one billion less than during the previous year. It is important to reverse this trend,” Putin told PTI in a wide-ranging interview.

He emphasised on the need to develop cooperation in high-technology areas such as nuclear energy, space research, aircraft and automobile production, pharmaceutical, chemical, information technologies and nanotechnologies.

On the proposed free trade agreement, he said India has expressed an interest in concluding the free trade pact.

“Obviously not everything depends on a trade regime. There are some areas to be improved. I mean logistics and securing favourable financial conditions for implementing deals. The issue of a possible transition to payments in national currencies is also quiet relevant,” Putin said.

He said the joint group would decide about “what steps should be taken and identify categories of goods for which the markets may be opened and those for which it would be still too early”.

The President’s two-day official visit to India will start from tomorrow.

India’s trade with the Eurasian Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) increased to USD 7.4 billion in 2012 from USD 6.5 billion in 2011.

On his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said: “we will devote particular attention to expanding trade and economic links and boosting mutual investments”.

He said that “serious” preparatory work has been done during the past sessions of the inter-governmental commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation and Indo-Russian Forum on Trade and Investment.

“Our priorities include building a butyl rubber plant, helicopter manufacturing, creating a smart city on the basis of Russian technologies, organising assembly of industrial tractors,” the President added.