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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

$200M Ship Deal

MOSCOW (MT) -- St. Petersburg's Severnaya Verf will build 28 ships worth about $200 million to pay off part of the Soviet Union's debt to the Czech Republic, Interfax reported the head of Severnaya's parent company as saying Tuesday.

Severnaya has already signed a contract to build the first eight ships with Czech shipyard Ceske Lodenice, New Programs and Concepts' Boris Kuzyk said at a news conference. The contract will be financed from the federal budget.

Severnaya will begin construction of the first three ships this year, another five in 2003 and six annually in subsequent years.

GDP Rises 3.7%

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Gross domestic product rose 3.7 percent year on year to 2.266 trillion rubles ($70 million) in January to March, the State Statistics Committee reported Wednesday.

The government expects GDP to grow 3.6 percent this year.

Industrial Output Falls

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Industrial output fell 1.7 percent in May compared with April, but rose 2.8 percent year on year, the State Statistics Committee said Wednesday.

Industrial production in the first five months of the year rose 3 percent over the same period in 2001, the committee said in a statement.

Trade Chamber Duties

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The functions and responsibilities of the Russian Chamber of Commerce should be broadened, chamber president Yevgeny Primakov said Wednesday.

The chamber's expanded functions should include organizing tenders for products and services ordered by state and municipal bodies, licensing certain types of activity and coordinating exhibition activities, Primakov said.

Grid Unification

BRUSSELS, Belgium (Prime-Tass) -- The European Union has expressed interest in joining its power grids with Russia and other former Soviet states, Unified Energy Systems chief Anatoly Chubais said Wednesday.

However, it will take "years, not months" to implement the project, Itar-Tass reported him as saying. The project should cost around $100 million, Chubais said.

Car Tariffs Slammed

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Russia does not need to protect its automobile sector upon joining the World Trade Organization, Anti-Monopoly Minister Ilya Yuzhanov said Wednesday.

Excessive protectionism in the sector would force consumers to choose between very expensive high quality autos and cheap low quality autos, Yuzhanov said at the Sixth Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

The government should promote cooperation among domestic auto manufacturers and foreign companies to produce quality, affordable automobiles, he said.