Finland seeks to diversify trade and economic ties with Russia

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Finland is looking to diversify trade and economic relations with Russia, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said on Wednesday.
MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - Finland is looking to diversify trade and economic relations with Russia, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said on Wednesday.

"The growth of our trade turnover can continue. The prerequisites for this involve the diversification of our cooperation, including in the sphere of high technology," Vanhanen said at a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Putin said that Finland remained a key partner for Russia in Europe both in terms of shared borders and trade.

"In the first half [of 2008], Russia became Finland's top partner, overtaking Germany in many indicators," Putin said.

In January-June 2008, trade between Russia and Finland amounted to 9.1 billion euros ($11.5 billion), including Russian exports of 5.4 billion euros ($6.8 billion) 35% up from the same period last year, and imports of 3.7 billion euros ($4.7 billion) - up 23%.

In 2007, bilateral trade grew 8% to 15 billion euros ($18.9 billion), with Russia's exports to Finland hitting 8.3 billion euros ($10.5 billion) and Finnish imports into Russia standing at 6.7 billion euros ($8.4 billion).

Raw materials and energy products account for 88% of Russia's exports to Finland. Russia's imports from Finland include machinery, equipment and transport vehicles (more than 50%), raw materials (22%), and chemical goods (13%).

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