BASF Chief Financial Officer Hans-Ulrich Engel was also present at the meeting.
Taking part on the Russia side were Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, let me wish you a warm welcome to Moscow.
We have longstanding good relations with BASF, which has been working in Russia for a long time now in various sectors, chemicals and household chemicals, for example. The company is investing good money in localising production in Russia.
Energy is the other big sector in which BASF is working here. You have ties with different Russian companies, including LUKOIL and Gazprom. You are a visible and significant shareholder in the Nord Stream pipeline, and as far as I understand the situation, you support continuation of this project, the Nord Stream 2 project, which is a purely economic venture.
In this respect, let me repeat that this project is not aimed against any of our partners. What’s more, we are ready to continue relations with all partners, including Ukraine, as transit countries, but we take the position that there will be reliable and economically advantageous market conditions for this cooperation.
With Europe’s gas consumption on the increase, and the drop in production in European countries, Nord Stream 2 is very much a natural project.
We are pleased to see that our reliable partners in Europe in general, and in Germany, continue to work actively in Russia. Unfortunately, recent economic events have had a negative impact on our reciprocal trade. The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations estimates that Germany has lost at least 150,000 jobs as a result of these unfavourable events.
But we do not lose hope that we will be able to restore full-format cooperation. Of course, we will continue to work hard on this with our economic partners, and with our partners at the political level. On May 2, as you know, we are expecting Federal Chancellor Ms Merkel’s visit.
President and CEO of BASF Kurt Bock (retranslated): Mr President, thank you very much for giving me and my colleague on the board, Hans-Ulrich Engel, the chance to be here today and say a few words.
BASF has been working actively on the Russian market for more than 140 years now, including with our friends and partners from Gazprom.
We are active in two sectors here, chemicals and energy. These last two years have not been easy for us, but we have noted a growth trend starting this year. The basic conditions for continued growth are better now than they were a while ago. We will make the effort needed to make use of these opportunities. We recently discussed these matters with the Industry Minister. We will continue, of course, to our efforts to localise production here.
Our cooperation in the energy sector, specifically in the gas sector, is developing very, very well. This sector is of great importance for us. Of course, the main project in this area at the moment is Nord Stream 2. We completed the Nord Stream 1 project with success together. I think we will have the same success with Nord Stream 2, given that we now have successful experience of working together.