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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gref Slams U.S. Bill



WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref urged the U.S. Congress to repeal a Cold War measure that requires Moscow to demonstrate it allows free emigration to qualify for normal trade relations.

Gref said that the so-called Jackson-Vanik provision is "absolutely inconsistent with the realities of today."

The Bush administration agrees and has asked Congress to lift the measure.

During Gref's visit, Russia agreed with the United States on its withdrawal from their 1999 bilateral steel trade deal, Prime-Tass reported.

Under the agreement, Russia assumed the obligation of restricting its export of 14 types of steel to the United States, but Gref said the agreement became useless after the United States introduced protective tariffs on certain types of steel imports in March.




Gref Wary on Growth



PARIS (Reuters) -- Economic growth in Russia cannot be boosted in the short term without destabilizing the economy, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Wednesday.

Speaking after meeting officials at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, Gref also said the current pace of economic reform in Russia was appropriate.

Gref also said that Russia will be able to make all of its foreign debt payments in 2003 without outside help, Itar-Tass reported.




$500M Seafood Loss



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Russia loses about $500 million per year from the illegal sale of fish and other seafood products, State Fishing Committee chairman Yevgeny Nazdratenko said Wednesday.

He said discrepancies between Russian and Japanese customs statistics of export-import operations amounted to $1 billion in 2000 and $700 million in 2001.




GSM Licenses Granted



MOSCOW (MT) -- St. Petersburg Telecom and Oblcom, which operate under Fora Communications, received licenses for the GSM-1800 standard from the Communications Ministry on Wednesday.

Both operators operate in the non-digital AMPS standard. Association 800, which unites AMPS operators across the country, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Communications Ministry last year that gave all AMPS operators an opportunity to switch to the GSM-1800 standard.




U.S., Russia Drug Deal



MOSCOW (MT) -- Russian firm Askor-M and American Resources International have signed a contract in Washington to build a $11.75 million pharmaceutical plant in the Moscow region, Itar-Tass reported Wednesday.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank will guarantee 85 percent of the loans for the facility. Russia will cover the remaining 15 percent.




Imported Meat Checks



MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The State Veterinary Service will conduct a comprehensive inspection of all domestic meat importers to verify that they have adequate facilities for processing and storing imported meat. The inspection is likely to reduce the number of authorized importers, an Agriculture Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

"We have found numerous breaches of health standards by meat importers," the spokesman said.




RBC IPO Ends



MOSCOW (MT) -- Aton brokerage concluded the subscription for RosBusinessConsulting's initial public offering Wednesday, with shares ending at the high end of a set target range.

RBC closed at $0.83, with the subscription putting RBC's market capitalization at $83 million. The target price was between $0.75 and $0.85 per share. Trading of RBC shares on the RTS and the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange will begin May 6.

The emission was oversubscribed by at least 2 1/2 times, said Igor Bondarenko, Aton's IPO project manager.




For the Record



An International Monetary Fund mission is coming to Moscow on June 13 for discussions on the 2003 budget, Interfax reported a Finance Ministry spokesman as saying Wednesday. (MT)

No. 2 airline Sibir will move its scheduled flights from Vnukovo to Domodedovo Airport next month, adding to the number of defectors that have chosen Domodedovo after its multimillion-dollar face-lift. (MT)

Mobile operator Vimpelcom has started placing its five-year Eurobonds worth $250 million, a market source said Wednesday. (Prime-Tass)

Railway cargo rates are expected to increase some 13 percent, First Deputy Railways Minister Vadim Morozov said Wednesday. (Prime-Tass)