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Forging closer economic ties with Russia

Economics Minister Doris Leuthard has signed an agreement to negotiate closer trade cooperation between Switzerland and Russia.

The plan is aimed at paving the way for a number of economics treaties, particularly the promotion of investment, patent protection, the easing of customs regulations and certification procedures.

It foresees regular contacts at ministerial and administrative levels as well as between delegations of private industry for at least two years, according to a statement by the economics ministry.

Leuthard, who leads a business delegation to Russia, met Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina as well as other government ministers and the head of the Russian Central Bank, Sergei Ignatiev, in Moscow on Tuesday.

During her six-day visit Leuthard is also due to travel to St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.

The bilateral trade volume increased to SFr4.47 billion ($4.35 billion) last year, with Swiss exports to Russia growing by more than 20 per cent to SFr2.91 billion.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR