Medvedev Slams Fake Textiles

President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that about half of textiles sold in the country are counterfeit or contraband and ordered former Kremlin powerbroker Igor Sechin to resuscitate the domestic textile industry.

Medvedev said he has asked the Customs and Federal Security Service and Justice and Interior ministries to take measures to protect the country's textile industry from illegal imports from countries like China and India.

"Suppressing it completely will be very hard, but we have all the capabilities to substantially reduce it," he said during a trip to the textiles hub of Ivanovo.

He placed Deputy Prime Minister Sechin in charge of an intergovernmental group to tackle the problem.

Textiles account for 75 percent of Russia's light-industrial output, the Kremlin said in a statement. Nearly 50 percent of light-industry products on the Russian market are illegally imported, mostly from China and Turkey, the statement said. Russian goods account for just 23 percent of the market, while 27 percent are imported legally. Contraband products have cost Russia about 650 billion rubles ($27.6 billion) in tax revenue, the statement said.

"The Russian textiles industry may cease to exist in the next five to 10 years" if nothing is done to save it, Ivanovo Governor Mikhail Men told Medvedev.

He called for investment of at least $500 million a year, up from $240 million in 2007.