The Italian prime minister an-nounced that Italy will soon become Russia's top trading partner. At a recent intergovernmental summit, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev and Silvio Berlusconi made a number of deals aimed at strengthening Italian-Russian trade.
Trade between the two countries was up 60 percent this year and could end 2008 ‘at an unprecedented level' said Medvedev. The two countries signed 13 accords and statements of intent regarding joint business ventures and intergovernmental agreements during Berlusconi's visit to the Kremlin.
Among the strategic business accords is a 300-million-euro deal between Italian tire giant Pirelli and the state corporation Russian Technologies to build a tire plant in Russia by the end of 2010. The new factory will have an expected output of some 4.2 million tires a year. Fiat agreed to launch and manufacture a new Fiat model with the Russian car producer Sollers.
Meanwhile, Italian energy giant ENEL renewed its agreement to supply energy to Russian railway company RZHD for 15 years, a deal worth an estimated one billion euro. ENEL also signed a second statement of intent with Russian electricity trading company Inter RAO UES for cooperation in the energy sector both in Russia and elsewhere.
Ministers from both countries signed agreements on the joint construction of nuclear reactors in Italy, adoption, drugs trafficking and cultural cooperation.