Putin welcomes Italian investors

Vladimir Putin says he’s happy to see Italian cash flowing into Russia’s electricity sector. The outgoing President made his comments at a meeting with Italian business leaders in Moscow. He also highlighted asset swaps by Italian and Russian companies in

Putin said capital from overseas was vital to the economy. Accumulated foreign investment in Russia reached $US 220 billion at the start of this year, and Putin said Russia is looking for more cash from abroad.

“We are determined to encourage and ease operations for foreign investors working in Russia – particularly in the area of administrative regulation and investment legislation,” Putin said.

The President's comments come on the same day that Russia's lower house of parliament backed new laws to limit overseas investment in the country's strategic economic sectors.

The law says any private foreign company looking to buy a blocking stake in one of 42 designated strategic sectors will need to obtain authorisation from a special commission.

Among the strategic sectors are oil, gas, aerospace and mass media.

The bill will now to be passed on to the Federation Council and the President for signing before becoming law.