Mr Putin met with representatives of the MEDEF, the leading French employers’ association, at the Gabriel Pavillon close to the Palais de l’Elysees.
Russian businessmen were also at the meeting.
Mr Putin stressed that the high level of the Russian-French political dialogue was bringing notable economic benefits, as shown by the achievements of 2002, when the bilateral trade turnover increased by more than 11% to $4.2 billion. French companies became more active in Russia, and more than 20 joint ventures with Russian capital participation appeared in France.
Nevertheless, discrimination barriers were slowing the progress of bilateral cooperation—in particular, anti-dumping measures had not yet been abolished with regard to Russia, even after the European Union recognised the market status of the Russian economy. Mr Putin called on French businessmen to work together to find compromise solutions proceeding from mutually beneficial actions and a clear realisation of the prospects for civilised cooperation.