Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday that his government will help Italian companies operating in the country to deal with losses resulting from sanctions imposed on Moscow, RIA Novosti reports.
Russia’s top diplomat said in an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa that the West’s punitive measures targeting Russia have hurt trade with Italy. Bilateral turnover has halved from $53.8 billion in 2013 to $26.9 billion in 2018, Lavrov said.
Meanwhile, Italian producers lost nearly $2 billion due to restrictions and there are still many entrepreneurs unwilling to leave the Russian market, according to Lavrov.
“We are ready to assist your companies in the transition from predominantly deliveries of ‘made in Italy’ products to the Russian market, to production cooperation based on the principle of ‘made with Italy’ with an emphasis on the localization of production in Russia,” the foreign minister explained.
Italy is one of Russia’s major trade partners after China, Germany, the Netherlands and Belarus, and about 500 Italian companies operating in the country.
“Italy was, is, and will remain [our] strategic European partner on all fronts,” Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said last Friday, when he met with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio at the Russian-Italian Council on Economic, Industrial, Currency and Financial Cooperation.