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Energy projects will be one of the main areas of Russian-Japanese cooperation in the next few years
Energy projects will be one of the main areas of Russian-Japanese cooperation in the next few years, Georgy Petrov, vice president of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, announced Friday. "In the next few years, our countries will pay close attention to energy related issues, including gas pipelines and LNG supplies," he said at a meeting with a delegation of the Japanese chamber of commerce. Nobuo Yamaguchi, the chairman of the Japanese chamber of commerce, stressed Japan's interest in Russia's energy sector. "We are interested in the reform of natural monopolies in the gas sector, the power industry and the railroads," he said. "We believe that it opens numerous opportunities for investment in such industries as gas and mining." To further develop their cooperation, Russia and Japan need to create an adequate infrastructure and investment climate, Mr. Yamaguchi said. Mr. Petrov, when speaking about the state and outlook of the Russian economy, said the Russia had much to do, as the pivotal reforms were only in their early stages. "The first reform is banking," he said, "and the summer months showed that this sector remains vulnerable. Also, the issues of the pension reform and the communal housing reform remain open." Despite all this, he believes that by 2010 Russia will manage to double its GDP. "Russia has every prerequisite to achieve its main goal, to double GDP by 2010," Mr. Petrov said. The Economic Development and Trade Ministry said it was unsatisfied with the present level of Russian-Japanese cooperation. It does not correspond to "its potential and there is room for improvement," said Vladimir Nabokov, counselor of the ministry's Asian department, at the meeting with the Japanese delegation. "We link expansion of our relations even to high-tech areas, which will bring our interaction to a new level," he said, adding currently, the energy sphere was a priority in cooperation. According to the ministry, most of Japanese investment in Russia were in the energy sphere. "We can note the continuing influx of Japanese investment," he said, "which has more than doubled, and most of it, about $1 billion, goes to Russia's energy sphere." Last year, trade turnover between Russia and Japan grew by 42% and amounted to almost $6 billion, he added. "This year has also seen positive developments in trade turnover," he continued. "In the first seven months alone, bilateral trade was up by 50% and amounted to approximately $4.8 billion."
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