The trade volume between Russia and France in the period from January to September 2001 totaled $2.6 billion, said the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade on Monday. January 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin will go to France on a short official visit. Russian exports to France in the 9 months of 2001 amounted to $1.629 billion, and imports to $1.31 billion. In 2000, the Russian-French trade volume totaled $3.81 billion. The ministry said that about 70 percent of Russian exports to France were made up of energy sources, non-ferrous metals and chemical products. Machinery and equipment represent only 2 percent of total Russian exports to France. As for imports, 30 percent of them comprise consumer goods. The share of industrial equipment in the French imports to Russia has stayed at the level of two previous years, or 22 percent.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated