As part of the implementation of the PM work plan at the above-mentioned summit, a provision for a new trade and investment dialogue between the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and the European Commission`s Directorate-General for Trade has been signed. The co-chair of the dialogue on the Russian side is the Deputy Minister for Economic Development of the Russian Federation A. A. Slepnev, Deputy Director-General of the EU of the European Commission`s Directorate General for Trade P. Balazs. The dialogue will focus on EU-Russia trade and investment relations, including EU and Russian WTO commitments and ongoing trade and economic agreements between the EU and Russia. In 2017, according to Russian customs statistics, the turnover between the EU and Russia was $246.5 billion, 22.9% more than in 2016. In 2017, Russian exports to the EU amounted to $159.6 (up 22.1%) And Russian imports to $86.9 (up 24.4%). For example, Russia`s trade surplus was $72.7 billion. During 2015, the EU held trilateral talks with Russia and Ukraine on the EU-Ukraine trade agreement, which is expected to enter into force in 2016. The talks were aimed at allaying Moscow`s fears about the agreement, but showed that Russia`s concerns were political or related to maintaining the dominant position in Ukraine and were therefore not legitimate for the EU. Nevertheless, the discussions showed the usefulness of such a commitment for EU Member States and gave Ukraine time to make its economy less vulnerable to a trade war. Work on this region has already taken a major step forward with the conclusion of negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission agreements.
Both the EU and Russia are in the process of ratifying these agreements. The visa dialogue will continue to examine the conditions of a reciprocal visa waiver regime as a long-term perspective. In a statement on 15 December 2011 following an EU-Russia summit, the President of the European Commission confirmed the launch of the “common steps towards visa-freeness” with Russia.  Russia hoped to sign a visa waiver agreement as early as January 2014.  Today, trade between Russia and the EU is worth more than 200 billion euros and more recently, more than 300 billion euros per year. We cannot ignore such an impressive figure, even for political reasons. I am absolutely certain that, despite the brevity of the language of the aforementioned strategy, the European Commission is in fact at a very disadvantage on the future of our economic relations. In the run-up to the 2013 Vilnius summit between the EU and its eastern neighbours, there has been “brutal geopolitical competition” that the Economist has not seen in Europe since the end of the Cold War, with Russia seeking to convince the countries of its “near country” to join its new Eurasian Economic Union rather than sign association agreements with the EU.
 The Russian government led by President Putin managed to convince Armenia (in September) and Ukraine (in November) to end talks with the EU and start negotiations with Russia.  Nevertheless, the EU summit with Moldova and Georgia continued to conclude agreements with the EU despite Russian opposition.  Widespread protests in Ukraine led Viktor Yanukovych to leave Ukraine for Russia in February 2014. Russia then launched a military intervention in Ukraine. This action was condemned by the European Union as an invasion that imposed visa bans and asset freezes on some Russian officials.  The Council of the European Union stated that “russia`s violation of international law and the destabilization of Ukraine […] To question the European safety order in its essence.  The opening up of the EU trade regime has made the EU the largest player on the world trade scene and remains a good region with which it is possible to do business.