OREANDA-NEWS. December 09, 2013. "The partnership between Russia and France has a long history. At present, it is being fully supported through a fruitful political dialogue, the dynamics of human relationships and effective economic cooperation. Today, France accounts for 3% of Russia's total foreign trade and 6% of Russia's trade with the European Union," said Vladimir Yakunin, who is President of Russian Railways and Co-president of the Franco - Russian Dialogue and was speaking at the opening of the Russian-French Economic Forum in Paris.

Yakunin pointed out that total French investment in Russia during the first half of 2013 amounted to over USD16 billion, including USD2.5 billion of direct investment.

Yakunin also noted that one of the most iconic examples of Russian investment in France was the signing of an agreement in 2012 between Russian Railways and Peugeot Citroen about the Company's purchase of a 75% stake in the French company GEFCO for 800 million euros. In addition, one of the largest Russian projects now under development and involving foreign know-how and competence is the construction of a high-speed railway line between Moscow - Kazan.

The President of Russian Railways said that recently, constructive relationships between Russian and French commercial and public organisations had become much more active, but that economic issues were usually only discussed in a fragmentary fashion.

"I am confident that the results of the Forum can serve as a signal for our colleagues in both France and in Russia, who, owing to prejudice or some other reason, are in no hurry to build a strong business relationship with each other," said Vladimir Yakunin.