Minister Verhagen attends International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg

Minister Verhagen of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation is attending the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg from Thursday 21 to Friday 22 June 2012.

Minister Verhagen will attend the official opening of the Forum by President Putin. He will meet with Minister Belousov of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Minister Novak of the Ministry of Energy. He will also meet with Dutch companies and their Russian business associates, and speak with civil society organizations and journalists about promoting freedom of speech and combating corruption.

Key emerging market

Russia is a key emerging market for large and small businesses from top Dutch sectors agrifoods, horticulture, logistics, water, life sciences, and energy. Russia is also an important trading partner for the Netherlands.

Dutch exports to Russia totalled €5.8 billion in 2010, making Russia the Netherlands’ second-largest export destination outside the EU – larger than China, Brazil, India, and Turkey, and behind only the U.S. Imports from Russia – primarily oil – grew in 2010 to a record €14 billion, or 4% of total Dutch imports. Here, too, Russia’s share of the Dutch import market well surpasses those of Brazil, India, and Turkey.

In addition, the Netherlands has for years been one of Russia’s most important investors. Corporations such as Shell, Heineken, Philips, DSM, and Unilever have invested in Russia, but other Dutch multinationals, including Akzo Nobel, have also made recent investments in Russia or announced plans to do so.

Netherlands-Russia year

In 2013, both countries will celebrate the Netherlands-Russia year, and the Netherlands has been invited to attend the International Economic Forum as guest of honour. Russia and the Netherlands enjoy close economic, cultural, and political relations, dating back to Tsar Peter the Great’s visit to the Netherlands in 1697.