Moscow hopes that Russian-French trade and economic ties will receive a positive impulse in 2003. Russian deputy foreign minister said this to journalists shortly before the negotiations between the Russian and French foreign ministers, Igor Ivanov and Dominique de Villepin, scheduled for Wednesday during a short stay of the French minister in Moscow.
Assessing the Russian-French economic collaboration as a whole, the diplomat stated that despite the signing of a number of well-known and important bilateral economic agreements, trade, economic and investment cooperation between Russia and France has not met the level and degree of the political dialogue's confidence since 2002.
According to him, "despite a tangible economic upsurge in Russia the growth of industrial production and the improvement of the investment climate the French partners have not acted actively enough so far. They often require special privileges which are impossible neither legislatively nor in the market conditions. They study too long the investment conditions of the Russian partners and as a result are marking time and losing positions in the Russian market." At the same time, Alexei Meshkov stated that "Russia and France have enormous potential of cooperation practically in all spheres, and it is necessary to use it with the maximum benefit for the peoples of the two countries."