Russian PM talks trade barriers removal in Paris

Friday’s visit by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov to France has been devoted mainly to removal of existing obstacles to trade. Several deals involving bank credits and deals in the alcohol and postal industries were signed.

Russia’s relations with France are becoming more important with Paris due to hold the EU presidency in the second half of next year.
The Prime Ministers of Russia and France sign a document setting out strategic sectors for bilateral development.
These involved a credit line from BNP Paribas to Vnesheconombank and an agreement on co-operation between the two countries postal services.
Representatives of Pernod Ricard announced their plans to buy a major Russian vodka brand. Russia, in turn, said it would end its embargo on the import of meat from four French regions.
A key topic of the talks in Paris was the need to removing existing obstacles to trade.
We have signed a number of important documents, and discussed questions of partnership between Russia and the EU. We have talked about the creation of common spaces for economics, security, law, science, and culture and a possibility of the creation of a visa-free regime,” Zubkov said
Russia objects that the European Union hinders its attempts to join the World Trade Organization over the farm subsidies of up to $US 9 billion. Russia says EU states provide 10 times that amount to their farmers.
With this and the issue of EU access to Russia’s gas network clouding relations, France’s Prime Minister Francois Fillon fired some warning shots to the Russian side.

“On what principles will Franco-Russian relations be based? On independence, reciprocity in all areas, and transparency. With President Sarkozy our ties are taking a new turn, to become more honest and more direct,” Fillon said.

France is one of Russia's biggest trading partners, but Zubkov's advisers privately complain that contracts to develop digital television and the Internet in Russia as well as projects in space have moved slower than expected.