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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

China Tourism Eased

MOSCOW (MT) -- China has included Russia in a list of countries that all Chinese nationals can visit as tourists, Interfax reported the deputy head of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry's tourism department as saying Tuesday.

The list now consists of 16 countries.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Russia should grow by 200,000 this year, the ministry's tourism chief, Alexander Sorokin, quoted a Chinese official as saying. Earlier, only residents of northern Chinese provinces bordering Russia were allowed to visit under an intergovernmental agreement on visa-free travel that came into force in November 2000.

The new tourism rules for Russia are expected to take effect in the second half of the year.

Tariff Cut Postponed

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The government Tuesday postponed a decision to alleviate a glut of oil products on the domestic market, including a possible cut in export tariffs, but might come back to the issue later this week, officials said.

A cut in tariffs on all oil products was considered by the government's Commission on Protective Measures in Foreign Trade, but no decision was taken, a member of the panel said.

Space Shopping

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Defense Ministry plans to buy eight satellites and four space rockets in 2002, Interfax reported Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Moskovsky as saying Tuesday.

"A basis will also be laid for buying 11 satellites and eight rockets in 2003," said Moskovsky, who is chief of the Defense Ministry's armaments department.

The state defense budget for 2002 "earmarks 12 percent more funds than last year," Moskovsky said. "In general, the state defense order for 2002 will grow by 32 percent for the Defense Ministry against last year."

$600M in Tankers

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Sovkomflot shipping company plans to spend more than $600 million on new tankers in the next few years, Prime-Tass reported general director Dmitry Skarga as saying Tuesday.

The tankers will be built by both domestic and foreign shipwrights, he said.

Yukos' Slovak Deal

MOSCOW (MT) -- Yukos and the Slovak government have closed a deal under which Yukos acquired 49 percent of Slovakia's state oil pipeline company Transpetrol, Yukos said in a press release late Monday.

Slovak Economics Minister Lubomir Harach, president of the Slovak National Property Fund Jozef Kojda and Yukos representative Mikhail Brudno signed a share purchase agreement Monday.

Yukos won a tender for the stake in December with an offer of $74 million.

Poultry Check

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Agriculture Ministry has requested that U.S. authorities provide information about the use of growth stimulants, preservatives and disinfectants in poultry products imported to Russia, Prime-Tass reported the ministry as saying Tuesday.

The inquiry follows a recent ban imposed on U.S. poultry by Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities said the ban was due to the use of antibiotics and drugs in feed for U.S. poultry and the treatment of meat with banned chemicals.

LUKoil's Port Shares

MOSCOW (MT) -- No. 1 oil major LUKoil acquired a 22 percent stake in the Murmansk seaport for 282 million rubles ($9.2 million) at a Jan. 24 auction, Itar-Tass reported Murmansk regional officials as saying Tuesday.

The bid values one share at 8,501 rubles, just 1 ruble above the minimum bid of 8,500 rubles per share.

Norilsk in 'Long-Term'

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The world's No. 1 palladium producer Norilsk Nickel said Tuesday it aims to raise drastically the amount of the metal it sells via long-term contracts and to cut spot sales.

Norilsk deputy CEO Maxim Finsky said that such long-term contracts could be signed this year and expected them to be of a length of three years.

Finsky said Norilsk, jointly with Almazjuvelirexport, Russia's PGM export agent, was starting negotiations on signing long-term contracts at prices starting from $400 per ounce of palladium.

Lower Airport Duties

MOSCOW (MT) -- In a move to ease the financial burden on airlines in the middle of an industry downturn, Sheremetyevo Airport said Tuesday it will increase duties by only 20 percent instead of 40 percent as planned earlier.

Sheremetyevo spokesman Konstantin Ugodnikov said the increase, which only affects domestic flights, was not intended to boost profits, but to help maintain the airport's infrastructure as costs rise due to inflation and higher energy tariffs.

Yulia Mazanova, spokeswoman for East Line Group, which operates Domodedovo Airport, said Domodedovo will likely follow Sheremetyevo's suit.

Vnukovo Airport was not available for comment Tuesday.

For the Record

Vimpelcom-R, the regional subsidiary of No. 2 cellular operator Vimpelcom, has launched a GSM network in the Nizhny Novgorod and Novokuznetsk regions, Prime-Tass reported a company official as saying Tuesday. (MT)

Konversbank shareholders at a meeting Monday voted out CEO Andrei Melnichenko, who is board chairman at MDM Bank, and replaced him with former MDM employee Sergei Medvedev. (MT)

Magnitogorsk Metals Plant has completed the placement of 100 million euros ($87 million) worth of three-year Eurobonds, Prime-Tass reported the company as saying Tuesday. The is the first time Magnitogorsk has tapped international capital markets. (MT)