Paris and St. Petersburg Well Build New Bridges!

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Mr. Moreau, for how long do you work in St. Petersburg and do you notice progress in Russian-French economical relationships? The fact is that I arrived on the Nevas banks on the eve of the default 1998. By that time our trade connections began to strengthen, but the shock stopped that positive process. A lot of French companies, that had worked successfully in Russia decided to leave the market. But three years passed. And I see again business activity of my fellow-countrymen in Petersburg, including construction branch. Can you prove your words by any examples? Of course. Not long ago in cooperation with Petersburgs Committee for Construction and Soyuzpetrostroy (Association of Contractors) and at support of Association of Architects and the largest Architectural bureau LenNIIproekt our Trade representative held a serious seminar on rchitecture. Vice-Governor Alexander Vakhmistrov and Consul of France in Petersburg Alexander Kilchevsky patronized it. The seminar caused high interest of Russian architects and planners, who got possibility to speak to their French colleagues. I think, on the eve of Petersburgs 300th anniversary skills and knowledge of French architects will be useful in your city. In June in Mikhailovsky Expositional center there passed a French fair. Together with planning and finishing companies wine producers, tourist dealers, educational foundations participated in it. And a few days ago in the same Expositional center there took place a fair dedicated to road machines and techniques. Two French companies working in regions of Russia participa-ted in it. Unfortunately, they havent come into Petersburg market yet. I know that the representatives of these firms had talks with Petersburg companies interested in the French road machines. St. Petersburg was built thanks to genius of many French architects. And is there experience French constructors can share with their Russian colleagues today? First of all, it concerns construction of new modern middle-class hotels. The shortage of them is obvious in your city. Weve got great experience in this sphere. The jubilee is close and I suppose in these two years some new hotel in Petersburg will be built at participation of French constructors. I know about negotiations in this field. Soon there will begin works on a new shroud bridge over the Neva as a part of the Circle road construction. And French builders are interested in this project. Such big companies as Freyssinet and Bouygues could offer Petersburg engineers and planners their experience. I know the talks are already ha-ving place. And the delegation of Petersburgs Administration workers and specialists visited France to watch a famous shroud bridge of Normandie and evaluate the French specialists skills. By the way by St. Petersburgs 200th anniversary France presented Troitsky bridge to your city and at the same time a magnificent bridge of Alexander III, Russias gift to France, was opened in Paris. Paris differs from Petersburg by its houses feces with natural stone, which are seldom in your city. But they all are significant and need special attention. The French companies possess unique technologies for natural stone facades preservation and restoration. And one of big Petersburg architectural bureaus announced to be interested in our specialists experience in this field. I think the history of our relationships in construction sphere is reach and we see good perspectives. What do you think about fair activity and do French companies participate in Russian branch fairs? Everybody know BATIMAT is being held in Paris for 40 years. This is the biggest European fair. Of course, French companies want to take part in the foreign fairs. In Petersburg we like Interstroyexpo fair. But the problem is it is held right after Mosbuild fair, so the French businessmen have no tame to prepare by Petersburgs event. As to you, what parts of the Paris fair are worth most deep expectation of Petersburg constructors? This time new technologies, materials, building machines and instruments will be widely presented at BATIMAT. Saving of energy and ecology in construction are also very interesting themes of the fair. Let me ask you one delicate question: why dont we notice active work of French constructors in Petersburg, when German, Italian and Scandinavian companies aggressively conquer the market? In fact, the work of the French companies is not seen at first sight. We work more actively in engineering, architecture and planning. For example, very few people know the plan of American Coca-Cola plant in Petersburg was fulfilled by a French company Technip. We supply modern technologies to Russia, including water treatment. I think almost nobody knows the components for Wrigleys chewing gum are produced in France. Petersburg famous bre-wery Baltica is building a malt plant together with a well-known French company Soufflet. In Spring in Petersburg there opened a plant of Lesaffre, the largest European yeast producer. Its not a secret that France is known for its fashion, perfume, food, car production. And citizens of Petersburg have already appreciated products of the French companies. To finish the interview let me express hope trade relationships between France, Russia and its Northern Capital will develop and come onto a new level by St. Petersburgs 300th anniversary.

: 12.11.2001
Interviewed by Alexander SIMONOVSKY
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