Meeting with representatives of Italian business community

Source: President of Russia – The Kremlin – English

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.
I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet with leading Italian entrepreneurs, our colleagues and friends.
When we met in October 2018, we had a constructive conversation about the prospects for expanding trade, economic and investment ties between Russia and Italy. Many of your useful recommendations have been taken into account in our ongoing work to create a favourable climate for growth and development of the economic environment, to improve economic regulation and the business climate that I just mentioned, including attracting foreign investment.
Of course, due to the coronavirus pandemic, business contacts have become difficult, and the generally volatile situation in the global economy is not helping with new projects and initiatives. However, we can state with satisfaction that our countries have managed to maintain cooperation on the economic track at a fairly high level. In January-November 2021, bilateral trade grew by 53.8 percent to $27.5 billion. I fully expect it to exceed $30 billion when we finish the calculations.
Colleagues, I propose focusing today’s discussion on your concerns – topics that are of the essence for our colleagues, investors, entrepreneurs working in Russia and interested in expanding commercial ties with our country, to discuss the most pressing aspects of Russian-Italian economic cooperation.
I would like to emphasise that we consider Italy one of Russia’s leading economic partners. Your country is Russia’s third largest trade partner in the EU. Italian companies’ investments in Russia’s economy amount to about $5 billion, and Russian investments in Italy are estimated at about $3 billion.
The Russian-Italian Investment Platform, which was established in 2019 jointly with the Russian Direct Investment Fund to finance large capital-intensive joint projects, is operating very effectively.
There are some 500 Italian companies in Russia. The range of industries where they operate is truly impressive: power generation, steel, oil and gas, petrochemical industries, helicopter manufacturing, high technologies, agribusiness, transport infrastructure, banking, insurance and many other sectors.
In particular, we are satisfied with the successful development of cooperation with Italian companies and banks in large-scale energy projects, such as Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2, in which over 60 Italian companies are involved. Italian producers of high-tech equipment are also actively contributing to the Vostok Oil project, which Rosneft is carrying out in the Krasnoyarsk Territory in the north of Russia.
Russia is a reliable supplier of energy resources to Italian consumers. In 2021, Gazprom delivered 22.7 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Italy or much more than in 2020, when it supplied 20.8 billion.
I would like to point out that Italian energy companies continue working with Gazprom on the basis of long-term contracts and can therefore buy Russian gas cheaper, I would even say much cheaper than spot market prices, which have increased considerably against the backdrop of a cold winter and a supply shortage.
There are also good prospects for boosting Russian-Italian business partnership in other energy sectors, primarily the development, use and commercialisation of renewable energy sources.
Italian business has invested some 500 million euros in the construction of wind farms in three Russian regions: the Stavropol Territory, Rostov in southern Russia and the Murmansk Region in the north. The Murmansk wind power project will be used to produce green hydrogen for export to Europe.
Incidentally, Russia has recently taken a number of major steps towards creating a low-carbon economy. You may be aware of our plans, which I have already mentioned, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 while maintaining sustainable economic growth.
To be continued.