Bavaria plans to boost business ties with Russia

February 3, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, during a meeting with Minister-President of Bavaria Horst Seehofer at Novo-Ogaryovo residence. © Sergey Guneev
Germany's wealthiest federal state is interested in strengthening economic ties with Russia, according to Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer at a meeting with President Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.

Seehofer said his visit concentrated primarily on improving the economic interests of local businesses in his state. The Bavarian leader stressed that it was his duty to represent interests of the region, as 20 percent of Russian-German trade is with Bavaria.

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"The dialogue must not stop. Russia is a very important trading partner for us," he said as quoted by Deutsche Welle.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed anti-Russian sanctions were on the agenda of the meeting. “Russia voiced the interest of our entrepreneurs in preserving the current contracts with Bavarian businesses, as well as the irrationality and harmfulness of sanctions for Russian and Bavarian businessmen," Peskov said.

Sanctions introduced against Russia in 2014 have hurt Bavarian firms, DW quotes Seehofer as saying, adding that manufacturing businesses are eager to restore contacts with Russia as soon as possible.

Nearly 1,600 Russian companies do business with Bavarian firms, ranging from electronics and engineering to construction. Fifty percent of Germany’s investment projects in Russia come from Bavaria.

Seehofer says he plans to encourage not only economic ties with Russia, but also cultural relations and overall trust.