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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Andersen Lobbies U.S. for Russia

An international consulting firm has demanded that the U.S. Commerce Department recognize Russia as a market economy, calling Washington's current position discriminatory.

Andersen released a 150-page report Tuesday calling U.S. business outdated and erroneous for opposing Russia's application for market economy status. The auditor joins the American Chamber of Commerce, which released a 46-page document earlier this month making similar claims.

If Russia is recognized as a market economy, anti-dumping measures and other trade restrictions would be more difficult to impose because Washington would have to look at the country's actual production costs to prove that Russian goods are being sold at below cost.

On that basis, major Russian steel producers show healthy profits.

Without market status, Russia is currently judged by the potentially higher production costs in a "comparative" country, such as Brazil.

"Much of the [opposition's argument] was ... based on hearsay, outdated information or interested-party propaganda. It didn't take account of the recent dramatic reforms," said Scott Antel, a legal partner at Andersen's Moscow office.

"Governments in every country intervene to a greater or lesser degree in their economies, so you cannot speculate on this fact," Daniel Cannistra, an Andersen partner in Washington, said in a statement Tuesday. "The DOC cannot treat the Russian Federation as though nothing has changed since ... 1990."

Andersen has performed in-depth comparative analyses of other countries -- including Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary -- when they were on the road to gaining market economy status.

"Russia is in a much better situation than many others were when granted market status," Antel said. "Russia deserves this."

"The U.S. takes the moral high ground when promoting its products. This is a chance for it to prove its commitment to free trade," he said, adding that developing countries have about three times the number of trade restrictions against them than they have in place.