Currently on a Latin American tour to expand alliances and business opportunities, the president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, said on Tuesday, November 25, that he wants to double trade with Brazil and expand cooperation in hi-tech areas.
"I hope in the next few years the turnover will reach US$ 10 billion a year (from 5 billion in 2007)," Medvedev said at a luncheon with Russian and Brazilian businessmen in Rio.
"The structure of the turnover is far from ideal," he said. "The main task is to make it include hi-tech sectors, major companies, and the energy sector. We have such potential."
Medvedev is scheduled to visit Venezuela, a buyer of Russian arms, and Cuba later this week as Russia seeks to reassert itself in the region. The Russian leader arrived in Brazil from the Asian Pacific Economic cooperation, APEC summit in Lima, Peru.
Also on Tuesday a fleet of Russian warships arrived in Venezuela for joint naval exercises ahead of Medvedev's visit, which is seen as another step in President Hugo Chavez's efforts to strengthen an alliance with Moscow.
Medvedev and Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva are scheduled to sign accords to increase cooperation in the aerospace, nuclear and defense industries during the visit. Russia hopes to sell helicopters, armored vehicles and other equipment to Brazil which has announced a plan to re-equip its armed forces.
Medvedev told the luncheon that Brazil and Russia, two of the world's biggest emerging markets, already had a "strategic partnership" and were turning into leaders of global growth despite the financial crisis.
"There are other sectors where we can exchange opinions, create joint ventures. That is space, aviation, the military-industrial complex and the energy sector," he said.
Medvedev also said that Russia's economic growth will reach around 7% in 2008. "Economic growth will remain at a level of 7%, although everybody will face certain difficulties," he said.
The Russian leader also announced the opening next year of a Russian energy giant Gazprom office in Brazil to "boost bilateral oil and gas cooperation."
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