After Milan show, Karelian firms expect surge in business with Italy

Karelian business people who took part in a presentation in Italy of Russia's Northwest Region held talks with Italian colleagues regarding possible cooperation in the forestry and tourism sectors. Representatives of the Karelian delegation discussed the talks at a press conference here today on the results of the Milan presentation.

Vladimir Yurev, chairman of the State Committee on Forests and Mining, said the discussions concerned possible use of Italian machinery in timber enterprises in Karelia, increased exports of timber products from Karelia to Italy and possible Italian investments in the Onezh Tractor Works. Agreement was also reached with Italian tourism companies about increasing the number of Italian visitors to Karelia.

As part of the Northwest Region's overall presentation in Milan, a separate Karelia presentation focused on the republic's main economic sectors. Olga Bykova, a specialist with Karelia's Ministry of Economic Development, noted that a similar presentation in Italy in 2002 was followed by a 150% increase in trade between Karelia and Italy in the first nine months of 2003 for a total trade turnover of USD 10.3 million. Specifically, plywood exports from Karelia rose by 70%, and exports of electro-technical machinery more than doubled. As a result, Karelia now stands 14th among Russian regions in terms of trade turnover with Italy. Karelia's Ministry of Economic Development expects a similar boost from the latest Milan showing.

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