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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
Allow me to welcome you in Moscow.
Your committee [the Eastern Committee of the German Economy] has always been very active in maintaining Russian-German trade and economic ties, and you continue this work today, despite the current difficulties we are facing.
There have always been difficulties of some kind, but even during the deepest Cold War years, Russia, or the Soviet Union as it was then, and Germany always maintained and developed trade and economic relations and carried out major projects, including a most symbolic one – the ‘gas in exchange for pipes’ project.
Our cooperation is far more diversified today and more extensive in geographical spread and the range of sectors it covers. It looks completely different today compared to previous decades. Germany remains our second trade and economic partner in terms of trade turnover, with only China ahead as far as our trade relations with individual countries go.
We have many promising projects, and I hope that your interest in cooperation with Russia and with your Russian partners will only grow, and you will seize the opportunities our market offers. It would be foolish to put the cooperation and experience we have built up together through trials and risk losing the opportunities the Russian market offers.
For our part, we will do everything we can to provide the best possible conditions for our foreign partners, including German business representatives.