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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

End Discrimination, Trade Boss Tells West

Defending Russia from charges of unfair competition in the aerospace and defense markets, the country's trade minister pointed the finger back at Western Europe and the United States on Thursday.


Sergei Glazyev, the minister of foreign trade, charged that the West, not Russia, is the one subsidizing its high-technology exports and called for an end to discrimination against Russian exports.


"Unlike the aerospace industry in the United States and Europe, our aerospace industry is practically not supported by the state", he said.


Russia will press for greater access to the U. S. market at Vancouver summit with U. S. President Bill Clinton, Glazyev said.


Russia is eager to market to Western companies its satellite launching services, one of its most competitive industries. But after more than a year of negotiations, Glazyev said, Russia has failed to convince the United States to drop opposition against access for Russian satellites to the world market.


"We do not have much hope for and do not ask for it additional credits. Our only demand now is for access for Russian products to developed countries, including the U. S. market, and for an end to discrimination of Russia on the international market", Glazyev said.


The imposition of punitive import tariffs on Russian uranium imports by the United States last fall had hurt Russia's attempts to convert its military industry to civilian production, Glazyev said.


Russian products, Glazyev said, were just cheaper because labor costs are lower in Russia and Russian enterprises have a technological edge in this field.


"We even raised some prices artificially", Glazyev said, to avoid conflict with the West. By subsidizing its weapons industry, the West has even managed to gain a foothold in markets once the domain of the Soviet Union, Glazyev charged, adding: "I do not think that a government should subsidize the export of weapons".


Some Western government officials do not accept the notion that Russia's aerospace industry is free from government support. Sally Bath, a U. S. aerospace official, charged last week in Moscow that Russia is selling satellite services at below cost. She said enterprises were not paying for research conducted at government-funded institutes and that some raw materials used in the industry were still subsidized.


Bath, of the U. S. Commerce Department, called on the Russian government to raise export prices by charging an additional license fee to aerospace industries.


To boost Russian exports of machinery and technology, Glazyev said Russia would create an import-export bank to provide export guarantees, for government credits to industries producing goods with a good export potential, and for improvement of Russia's ports.


By 1996, Glazyev said, export of machinery and technology should double to about $15 billion a year. Exports of machinery and technology had fallen by two-thirds in 1991 and another 20 percent in 1992, he said, mostly due to the decline in trade with Eastern Europe and Third World countries.


Asia, particularly India and China, would be prime targets for Russian exports, Glazyev said, singling out airplanes, satellites, weapons and laser technology as Russia's most promising export products.