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Energy will top the agenda of a meeting between the Russian and Vietnamese leaders during Vladimir Putin's official visit to the East Asian country
Energy will top the agenda of a meeting between the Russian and Vietnamese leaders during Vladimir Putin's official visit to the East Asian country, Russia's Hanoi ambassador said Friday. Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the November 18-19 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hanoi, and will stay one extra day in Vietnam for an official visit. Vadim Serafimov said Putin and Nguyen Minh Triet are set to discuss stepping up cooperation in the power and oil-and-gas sectors, and Russian-Vietnamese joint venture Vietsovpetro. A bilateral agreement on the Soviet-era venture, which has proved to be one of the largest and most effective joint ventures in Vietnam, accounting for about 65% of the country's oil production, expires in 2010, and the leaders are expected to outline principles for its extension and make a joint statement on the issue, Serafimov said. Vietsovpetro has started construction of a $300 million natural-gas pipeline in southern Vietnam as part of a $1.2 billion project to build an energy and nitrogen complex, including two electric power stations and a nitrogen processing facility worth a total of $900 million, in addition to the pipeline. In 2006-2010, Vietsovpetro plans to produce 37-40 million metric tons of crude and 6.5 billion cubic meters of associated gas. The ambassador said the countries seek a boost in bilateral trade, which currently exceeds $1 billion annually. "It is a modest figure, but the dynamics are positive," he said, pointing at customs tariffs as the main hampering factor. Trade between the two countries was up 20% in 2005, year-on-year, to $1.1 billion. Russia traditionally supplies machinery and equipment, rolled metal products, non-ferrous metals and chemicals to Vietnam. Vietnam considerably expanded its exports to Russia in 2005 compared with the previous year, whereas the number of Russian tourists visiting Vietnam hit a new record last year, reaching 23,000, almost doubling the 2004 figure.
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