BERLIN, Sept 16 German Vice Chancellor and
Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel will visit Russia next
week to hold talks with Russian government officials about the
state of bilateral trade relations, his ministry said in a
statement on Friday.
Gabriel, who will be in Russia on Wednesday and Thursday,
will take a business delegation with him, the ministry said,
saying his visit came at a time when trade between the two
countries was declining.
Trade between German and Russian companies fell by 13.7
percent in the first half of 2016 compared to a year earlier, it
said, and German exports to Russia were also down.
"Planned among other meetings are talks with several members
of the Russian government on bilateral economic relations
between Russia and Germany and the European Union," the ministry
"In addition, a meeting with representatives of German
companies that are located in the Russian Federation is
European Union sanctions imposed over Moscow's role in the
Ukraine crisis remain in place as do Russian retaliatory counter
sanctions banning many EU food products. The Kremlin is keen for
the EU to lift the sanctions, while German companies have
lobbied the German government in the past over the issue
complaining the sanctions are hurting their business.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she wants Russia to do
more to help the shaky peace process in eastern Ukraine before
the EU considers lifting the sanctions.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Writing by Andrew Osborn;
Editing by Dmitry Solovyov)