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Danish-Russian trade has picked up again and there is growing interest in new investments. However, there is potential for far more. Rich possibilities exist and it is our joint responsibility to fully exploit them.
It is encouraging that the Danish and Russian business communities have joined forces and agreed to develop their cooperation. This is to take place through the establishment of a Russian-Danish business forum that includes a number of leading Danish and Russian companies. It is my hope that with the establishment of this new business platform we will witness a powerful boost both in commerce and investments in the years to come.
There are many exciting projects in the pipeline between the Danish and the Russian business communities. This is a clear proof of increased commercial interaction between our two countries.
Later today, President Medvedev and I will sign a declaration concerning a modernisation partnership between our two countries. One goal is to support the Russian modernisation process through an expansion of contacts and cooperation in many different areas. This declaration will create the basis for more dynamic bilateral relations.
Danish companies have a great deal to offer regarding both products and know-how. We can deliver products and technical solutions that can contribute to improving Russian energy efficiency. This is one of the key objectives that President Medvedev has defined for Russian society. Later today a bilateral cooperation agreement on energy will also be signed.
Denmark has also a lot to offer in the area of agriculture and food. Many of our companies are already actively involved in modernising Russia’s agriculture and food production.
In the area of transport, Danish shipping companies are responsible for a large part of the goods transported to and from Russian harbours. Our shipping lines have achieved considerable market shares in Russia because they deliver absolute top quality transport solutions. Our pharmaceutical companies are also world market leaders. Many Russian diabetics use high quality Danish insulin, for example.
Danish companies’ exports to and direct investments in Russia contribute to the diversification and modernisation of the Russian economy. It is also my distinct impression that many more Danish companies are ready to invest in Russia if the framework conditions are right.
I hope that this state visit will inspire the Danish and Russian business sectors to expand the existing contacts and pave the way for new business opportunities that benefit both our countries.
The economic crisis has increased pressures on political leaders all over the world to protect domestic markets. Although the worst has been avoided, there is still a risk for global protectionism. It is important that we all refrain from this. International trade must be strengthened. Trade is part of the solution for the global economy.
This is of course also true for our bilateral economic cooperation. If we are to realise the joint vision of closer trade cooperation, barriers must be broken down. We must create better symmetry in the framework conditions for our companies.
It is our opinion that Russian membership of the WTO will foster an even more dynamic development in bilateral commerce and direct investments. Russian WTO membership will create stability and predictability in terms of framework conditions. I am confident that it would set the conditions for a boost in trade and direct investments.
I will conclude by expressing my sincere hope that this business conference will have a lasting impact on Danish-Russian commercial relations. That we will experience renewed growth in commerce and investments as a consequence of the contacts made today.
As I started out saying bilateral relations between Denmark and Russia have never been better. I hope you will seize the moment!