MOSCOW ATTRACTS GERMAN TRADE INVESTORS

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MOSCOW, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - The consumer boom has made Moscow one of the most attractive sites for investment in trade, says Gerhard Eschenbaum, deputy head of the Dusseldorf Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"Moscow is just an ideal place for trade, you won't find another equally favourable grounds for trading business," Eschenbaum said in a RIA interview.

In 2003, Germany was second only to Britain in capital investment, having contributed to Moscow's economy over $3 billion, or almost double the figure of 2002.

The Dusseldorf chamber of commerce and industry, the main vehicle of German investment in Russia, has dispatched this week to Moscow a delegation of executives from 40 leading companies, including Thyssen Krupp and Metro.

"We are calling upon the business community to invest in Russia. The Kremlin is displaying interest in contacts with the West, which is another important impetus for the business circles," says Eschenbaum.

Germany has already stimulated the Russian economy with more than $10.5 billion, of which direct investment alone made $2.5 billion.

"This is both much and not much keeping in mind the potential of German investors. Basically, the capital is channeled into trade, into "quick money" rather than into the industry," said Eschenbaum.

Mention was made of positive shifts in the business environment and adjustment of economic legislation to market conditions.

"Moscow has become similar to a Western city: it has a favourable business atmosphere and a new generation of entrepreneurs quick to grasp new ideas," said Eschenbaum.

In his opinion, Russian law becomes increasingly beneficial for entrepreneurship.

He commented on the Yukos case, saying it has not influenced Western capital's attitude toward Russia and has not bred distrust in the government.

"I do not want to overestimate the Yukos case which is a purely domestic business. It is no problem for foreign entrepreneurs," saidEschenbaum.

German business people find it profitable to set their production in Russian regions, Hartmut Haubrich, vice-president of the Dusseldorf chamber of commerce and industry, said Tuesday at a press-conference concerning a four-day Dusseldorf economic festival in Moscow.

He said German entrepreneurs would like to place their enterprises in Russian regions. We do not speak about Moscow in this respect-it has a good trading market-the regions seem to be particularly attractive as regards production, he added.

In the opinion of Haubrich, Moscow is the centre of trade and the services rather than the centre of production. "We have come to Moscow and are now busy searching for places to set our enterprises," he said.

Germany is now looking at the Kaluga region, 200 kilometres off Moscow, a good sales market, said Haubrich. The Kaluga region and Moscow are linked by good transport communication and ramified infrastructure. It is good for the placement of Schmolz Group facilities manufacturing technology for the city amenities.

"We let the Moscow mayor know all our proposals when meeting with him yesterday," said Haubrich, adding that he doesn't know any other so rapidly developing city in the world.

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