Opening address under Russian-French relations

Russian-French relations are deeply rooted. Since the Russian princess Anna Yaroslavna married the French king Henry I and went to France more than nine centuries have passed, almost a millennium of joint history.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1717 when Peter I signed credentials of the first Russian ambassador in France. Since then France became one of the major European partners of Russia, and Russian-French relations determined conditions both in Europe and world in many respects.


Russia and France

In the last few years, Russia has done a lot to overcome former political and economic instability, and now greater opportunities are offered for foreign investment in Russia.

Today Russian-French relations are at the highest level.

Cooperation between two countries covers a lot of perspective economic branches, including aircraft construction, astronautics, telecommunications, innovation, agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry.

Many large French producers have already foreseen that the Russian market is the future market. For example, such large corporations as: Renault, Auchan, Societe Generale bank and other French companies have successfully developed activity in Russia within last decade.

At the same time besides these investments there are numerous forms of partnership in the field of technology, undoubtedly, being one of the most perspective directions of cooperation with Russian enterprises. It is indisputable for such sectors as aircraft construction and space associations.

Therefore there is a natural question: why are many perspective French companies still not presented in the Russian market? The Majority of the reasons are because of Russia. Representatives of many French enterprises view the Russian market with some share of mistrust and prefer to observe, not act. First of all It is connected with a lack of information on business dealing in the Russian market. Therefore it is necessary to conduct the actions aimed at all-round disclosing of the information and creation of favourable conditions for the expansion of French business presence in Russia.

Various exhibitions, presentations, bilateral negotiations will allow French businessmen to open the richest opportunities of the Russian market and will serve expansion of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, including interaction of regions and separate enterprises.

It is necessary to strengthen Russian-French relations further as both sides are connected by generality of positions on key problems of the European and world development, so as the coordinated actions on the international scene. Accumulated experience of interaction, as a century tradition of friendship and mutual sympathy of Russian and French people predetermine encouraging prospects of the development of the Russian-French partnership.


Trade and economic communications continue to develop. French businessmen understand the positive dynamics shown by the Russian economy has steady and long-term character, French business circles develop the Russian market which has become one of the most perspective and dynamically developing in the world. The volume of the Russian positive balance in trade with France remains significant due to large deliveries of fuel and energy goods. There is an intention to correct the "skew" in the structure of commodity circulation gradually in favour of hi-tech production.

Mainstream cooperation is the close interaction in high technology branches, especially in the field of aircraft and space programmes. The scientific and technical potentials of Russia and France make the countries natural partners, capable of carrying out joint competitive projects. The last significant event in the aviation sphere is the successful promotion of the cooperation programme on the Russian regional plane creation. The European space agency Advice has given a green light for the accelerated realization of the project of rocket-carriers "Union" starts from the cosmodrome Kuru (the first of them are expected at the end of 2006). It is an important step on the way to global partnership between Russia and Western Europe in the field of creation of space transport systems of the future.

Another major and dynamically developing direction of Russian-French interaction is power engineering. France is a stable consumer of Russian oil, which provides 13.5 % of its energy needs, and natural gas (about 25 %). In April, 2003 parties signed a new mutually advantageous agreement on long-term deliveries of Russian gas. Among priority directions there are joint projects in the field of energy saving, renewed energy sources and creation of a uniform European infrastructure as a base of formation of the general continental market of the electric power. Total together with companies Rosneft and Yukos conducted prospecting works on a Black sea shelf.

Russia and France

In 2003 positive motions in the field of French investments inRussia were outlined. Renault has declared its participation in a joint venture to manufacture cars in Moscow. Michelin has opened the enterprise on auto tire. Alcatel continues to construct the enterprise on optical fibre manufacture and the trading house Auchan expands a network of shops in Russia. The bank Societe Generale is about to open departments on private individuals service.

The total volume of French investments in the Russian economy is estimated at nearly 3.4 billion dollars, and direct investments at nearby 300 million, that obviously does not count the opportunities of the partners. Opportunities of small-scale business in such a dynamic sector are insufficient. Expansion of a French business presence in Russia should be promoted by a special programme of economic actions developed by the Ministry of Economics, Finance and Industry of France.

In Russia there are 500 enterprises with participation of the French capital. Russian businessmen, unfortunately, are presented in France much more modestly (just 20 mixed joint-stock companies). Interest in expansion of inter-regional contacts, the potential of which is not yet used completely, is growing. A real impulse to develop the decentralized economic relations was given by a meeting on the inter-regional cooperation, organized by the Upper Chambers of the parliaments of the two countries, and the France-Tek exhibition in Moscow where representatives of business circles from many regions of Russia and France participated.

On the whole 2003 is noted by an appreciable spirit of Russian and French business-communities on the forward development of mutually advantageous contacts. This positive move is a vigorous signal to the further perfection of development conditions and its consequence is the intensification of trade and economic interaction.

A powerful contribution to this process has been brought by the 9th session of the Russian-French Commission concerning bilateral cooperation at a level of Governments and the 11th Session of the Russian-French Advice on economic, financial, industrial and trading questions. The subject detailed analysis of leading tendencies in the basic areas of cooperation, including discussion of concrete measures on increasing efficiency, so to eliminate difficulties, took place in Moscow.

Sources of information: Embassy of the Russian Federation in France.