MOSCOW. Jan 13 (Interfax) - The volume of trade between Russia and Turkey declined 40% last year amid the global financial and economic crisis, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"The past few years have seen a very good and effective nature of the development of our business relations. We have managed to significantly strengthen relations between our states in recent years. However, the world financial crisis has affected the development of bilateral economic relations. Our trade reached $35 billion in 2008, but it dropped 40% in 2009," Putin said.
Nevertheless, "Turkey remains one of Russia's biggest economic partners, outperforming the U.S. and the United Kingdom," the Russian prime minister said.
The two countries need to diversify their business relations, he said.
Erdogan, for his part, said that diversification efforts were under way in bilateral military, business and cultural cooperation, "enjoying the support of both sides' political will."
The Turkish PM said he hoped that the two states would soon be able to bring back their trade to the previous level and to achieve the goal of raising the volume of bilateral trade to $100 billion within the next five years.
Russia's exports to Turkey primarily consist of energy sources (70% of exports), metals, metal products and mineral fertilizers. Imports from Turkey are dominated by cars, equipment, transport means, consumer goods and food. Turkey is the second largest market for Russian natural gas. The two countries have been implementing a number of joint promising projects in the energy sector, telecommunications and industry.