MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde on Wednesday welcomed deepening economic and trade dialogue with Russia despite the existing political differences.
“It is no secret that Sweden and Russia have big differences on a number of international issues including Russian activities in Ukraine. For me, it is important that we are discussing our relations, that we are deepening our dialogue on economy and trade as well as [improving] the business environment despite significant differences in approaches,”
the minister said at the meeting of the Co-Chairs of the Russian-Swedish Steering Committee for Trade and Economic Cooperation.
The minister pointed out that the Russian market was very important for Swedish enterprises, adding that bilateral trade has significantly grown within the first three months of 2017.
“During the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year Swedish export to Russia increased by over 30 percent. Russian export to Sweden has increased by 78 percent. These are oil, chemical products, aluminum, etc.,”
She also expressed a hope that the ongoing reform of the Russian customs administration would be welcomed by Swedish companies.
“I understand that you are focusing on reforming the customs administration, [creating] a new customs code for 2018. Faster and simplified procedures, such as electronic application, would be welcomed by our companies,”
the minister added.
Russian-EU relations significantly deteriorated in 2014 after the eruption of the Ukrainian crisis and Crimea’s decision to rejoin Russia. The EU states accused Russia of interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs and subsequently imposed sanctions on Moscow. Russia has denied the accusations and, in response, introduced a food importation embargo against products from the states involved in putting sanctions on Moscow.