Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
Allow me to cordially welcome you to Russia once again. Our political relations have recently been developing very intensively and I think it is our common task to translate that into contacts in the economic sphere. And I would like to thank you for conveying the best regards and wishes from the Chairman of the Bulgarian Government.
I must say that some progress has been made in the economic field. The volume of trade is a healthy $1.4 billion. But there are problems with the content of trade and its structure. I must say, however, that although Russia has a surplus in terms of volume, the structure of Bulgarian exports is better.
Bulgaria sells more equipment and machinery to us than we sell to Bulgaria. But the first six months have seen a significant increase in volume. That is welcome. We have major joint projects in energy, engineering, light industry and transport. I am sure we will have a chance to discuss all these topics of mutual interest in some detail today.
But before we go into a substantive exchange of opinions, I would like to remind you that we expect you in Moscow at the end of September in connection with the cultural events, the Bulgarian Culture Days in Russia. I think that is also a very important area of our interaction, especially considering the growing links between our peoples. And we would like to see you come to Russia for an official visit in 2004.