Putin seeks to develop economic ties with The Netherlands

Vladimir Putin met on June 20 with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the sidelines of the 17th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

Rutte was invited to the forum as guest of honor. Putin and Rutte have addressed the main issues of the bilateral agenda while focusing on the prospects for commercial and economic cooperation and implementation of the agreements reached during Putin’s working visit to the Netherlands in April 2013.

The precarious state of the global economy has encouraged Russia and The Netherlands to develop trade and economic ties along with joint projects, according to President Vladimir Putin.  

"We are carrying out a large number of large projects together. It's always important, but it is even more important in the current situation in the world economy," Putin said.

For his part, Rutte said that his country is one of Russia's largest trading partners in Europe, while Russia is among the Netherlands' three biggest trading partners.

Rutte said that while the two countries traditionally cooperate in the sphere of agriculture and energy, "we want to develop cooperation in other areas too."

The Netherlands is one of Russia’s biggest foreign trade partners; it's the biggest trade partner in Europe and the second-biggest (in terms of volume) two-way trade partner globally after China. In 2012, two-way trade went up by more than 20 percent year-on-year to a new record high of $82.7 billion.

By the end of the first quarter of 2013, the Russian economy had accumulated $63 billion in Dutch investments, including about a third in Federal Direct Investments. Russian investments in the Netherlands are estimated in excess of $30 billion.

The energy sector is traditionally a priority area for relations between Russia and the Netherlands. In 2012, Russia supplied 2.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the Netherlands.

Much of Russia’s crude oil exports go to the international market through Dutch seaports and some of the largest Russian oil companies are tied to the Netherlands in other ways.

Gazprom and Dutch Gasunie are currently collaborating closely on the Nord Stream project, building Bergermeer (the largest natural gas storage facility in Europe) and fostering scientific and technological cooperation.

The Russian oil giant is also working with the Dutch Shell to implement the Sakhalin-2 project and the two are eyeing joint operations on other deposits in Russia and abroad. Lukoil is also vested in The Netherlands having acquired an oil refining facility operating 46 filling stations there.

Meanwhile, Shtandart, a joint Russian-Dutch company, is launching construction of an oil terminal at the port of Rotterdam, which will be capable of handling Russian Urals oil, among other blends.

The SPIEF is taking place from June 20-22. The main plenary session will be held on June 21. The SPIEF program focuses on the global growth agenda, Russia’s new horizons and new catalysts to change. Because of Russia’s presidency in the G20 this year, the forum will also feature a Business 20 summit.

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