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The investment climate in St. Petersburg is getting better
This is according to the city's mayor, Valentina Matviyenko. Speaking at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday, Ms Matviyenko noted that the city had had its investment rating upgraded twice last year. According to statistics cited by her, the economic growth rate was over 14 percent in 2004 and the first quarter of this year saw St. Petersburg's economy grow at 17 percent. Foreign investment in the city increased by 40 percent last year. This year, over 2 million square meters of residential space is to be commissioned in St. Petersburg - a record amount even in comparison with the Soviet era, Ms Matviyenko said. It is expected that as much as three million square meters of housing will have been commissioned by the year 2008, she added. City authorities have just completed negotiations with the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, signing a memorandum on the construction in St. Petersburg of a full-scale assembly unit, Ms Matviyenko said. The unit's prospective output will be 200,000 automobiles per year. At the moment, officials of the Japanese automotive giant and of local car-making companies are discussing supply quantities. The mayor believes that the deal with Toyota will give a boost to the city's economy. New electronics production facilities are to be put into operation in St. Petersburg later this year, Ms Matviyenko said. City authorities have signed an agreement with the German giant Bosch-Siemens on the construction of a fridge plant; another electronics facility is to be built under a contract with St. Petersburg's Elektrosila, currently in the making, she reported. An international competition is to be announced this next June, for best development project on the island in St. Petersburg's historical center that is known as New Holland. The Defense Ministry handed this island over to the municipality late last year. Foreign investors are displaying a lot of interest in the New Holland Island. According to expert estimates, a total 300 to 400 million dollars will be put into its development over a period of three years. St. Petersburg is Russia's first city to begin the allocation of land on a competitive basis, Ms Matviyenko said. Mr Putin, for his part, stressed the importance of city authorities' commitment to providing equal opportunities for all bidders
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