Foreign-economic activity has the leading place in social and economic life of the Republic of Karelia. In 2002 913 Karelian firms carried out the foreign trade operations, about 57% of the cost of volume of the industrial output produced by the enterprises of the republic was delivered for export.
In 2002 the volume of the foreign trade turnover of goods has made $737 million, which is by 6.5% less than in 2001. In external commodity circulation 80% falls to export. In 2002 export of goods has made $588 million, the absolute size of decrease in comparison with 2001 has made $58 million (9%). Falling of volumes has taken place on almost positions of the basic nomenclature of export, except for forest products (processed and raw). In 2002 due to proceeding setback in production in economic and adverse price conjuncture of goods exported from the Republic of Karelia, there was a reduction of prices on newprint (21%), cellulose commodity (3%), aluminium raw (13%), iron-ore pellets(3%).
In the view of situation, the main task of the Government of the Republic of Karelia in foreign trade activities in 2002 was support of the greatest possible effect of export. The conjuncture and prices of the commodity markets of foreign countries of the basic nomenclature of Karelian export is quarterly traced. Work with the federal center on decrease and cancellation of export duties on wood production is constantly be carried out, as a result there was achieved cancellation of duties on round birch wood products since February 18, 2002, and 2 times reduction of duties on craft-paper and paper bags since July 27, 2002.
In 2002 it was possible to overcome the tendency on decrease of export prices of forest products, rise of prices of saw-timber has made 17%, of round forest products - 6%. Besides improvement of price conjuncture, in this process significant were measures undertaken by the Government of the Republic of Karelia. The timber exporters regularly receive information on average contract prices of forest products in the republic, address work with the exporters admitting decrease of the export prices is accomplished, customs bodies use average contract prices in the republic at the control of customs cost of timber.
Import of the goods in 2002 in cost expression has made $149 million which has exceeded parameters of the last year by 5% or $7 million. Cost of import has increased due to the increased deliveries in the Republic of Karelia of pulp-and-paper and machine-building production. Import of electric equipment has increased by 26%, of lorries - 2.4 times, tractors - by 35%, instruments and devices - by 79% that testifies to processes of modernisation of enterprises of the republic.
Realization of Foreign Relations
Within 2002 the basic directions of international cooperation of the republic were bilateral cooperation with partners from Finland, Sweden, Norway, work within the framework of the international regional organizations in regions of the the Baltic and the Barents seas, initiation and support of projects by the European Union. The decision on nomination of the republic the European Region of 2003, made by the international jury in 2002 testifies to the international recognition of success of work of this direction in Karelia. In the international cooperation of the republic, as before, the basic emphasis was made on attraction of additional financial assets in social sectors: public health services, social protection, education and culture.
Last year unappropriated financing under 41 international project was carried out within the framework of Karelian-finnish frontier cooperation and TACIS at the total sum of 4.6 million euro. Enterprises and organizations of the republic have received technical help to the sum of $38.9 thousand (25.9 tons of cargoes).
Besides by training programs and international exchanges about 300 persons (students, teachers, doctors, scientific and other categories) have taken part in training, courses, exchange programs due to foreign grants and scholarships to the total sum of $600 thousand.
The certain help for the needy and socially unprotected layers of the population was humanitarian help in volume of 130,9 tons for the sum of $168.3 thousand received by the republic from abroad and properly distributed.
Within one year the republic carried on active dialogue with the federal Center on aspects of international activity, frontier cooperation, arrangement of the Russian-Finnish border. Our materials and offers were claimed and used at preparation and realization of negotiations of prime ministers of Russia and Finland during the Wood Forum in Moscow.
The significant international resonance and response in the Northwest federal district had visit to Karelia of heads of 26 diplomatic representatives accredited in the Russian Federation, international seminar on development of forestry and international seminar on development of international foreign economic relations in Northwest of Russia (organized in jointly with the Council of Europe, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Northwest federal district), the meeting on development of frontier-customs infrastructure of Karelia held by the Plenipotentiary of the President of Russia in Northwest federal district.
Within one year the permanent work on proper maintenance, arrangement and uninterrupted functioning in interests of the enterprises and frontier areas of border check points, including simplified points was conducted. Work of simplified check-point "Korpiselka" in Suojarvsky district is renewed. The Government of the Republic of Karelia has achieved non-use of the Order of the State Customs Committee of Russia "About definition of places of export" according to which simplified points on the Russian - finnish border sould be closed.
International and Interregional Cooperation