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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vodka Duties Reduced 5%

Russia reduced excise duties on vodka by 5 percent Thursday to help struggling domestic producers compete with a flood of imports, Itar-Tass said. New duties were set at 80 percent for vodka and 75 percent for other alcoholic drinks.

Itar-Tass said the reduction would raise profit levels at distilleries and translate into lower prices.

Under Russia's complicated procedures for calculating excise duties on domestically produced alcohol, a 5-percent cut in duties has a magnified impact on prices.

Industry experts say the price of vodka could drop by as much as 30 percent a bottle as a result of the excise duty decision.

Some industry lobbyists had called for a cut of 15 percent in the duties.

But Finance Ministry officials doubted whether losses to the budget from such a large reduction could be recouped through higher output.

Health officials also have voiced concern about Russia's problems with chronic alcoholism.