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    2003 RUSSIAN-GERMAN TRADE TURNOVER AMOUNTED TO €25 BLN

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    MOSCOW, February 4, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian-German trade turnover in 2003 amounted to €25 billion, Russian First Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrey Sharonov announced on Wednesday. He spoke at the German-Russian forum of small and medium businesses held in Moscow.

    According to Sharonov, it is the highest result in the recent years, but "not the summit of the countries' ambitions" taking into account the size of their economies. Germany accounts for one tenth of Russia's foreign trade, while Russia holds only one fortieth in German's foreign trade, Sharonov said.

    One of the reasons for the low turnover is first of all misbalance in the goods structure: Russian exports consist mainly of raw materials and energy products that are susceptible to price fluctuations. Russian deliveries cover 35 percent of German's demand for gas, 30 percent of oil and 10 percent of non-ferrous metals and fertilizers, Sharonov said.

    However, the country's debt to Germany hinders the growth of trade turnover, he admitted.

    The balance can be improved by exporting German capital to Russia, Moscow believes. At present Germany holds the first place among foreign investors in Russia: German investment totals $10.5 billion or 20 percent of all foreign investment accumulated in Russia, Sharonov emphasized.

    At the same time, he described the behaviour of German investors as "wait-and-see" and expressed his hope that as the reforms in Russia progressed their activity would increase.

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