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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gutierrez Listens to Ivanov, U.S. Firms

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez held talks with First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov on Tuesday in a bid to promote the interests of U.S. companies in Russia.

Among the issues discussed were the protection of intellectual property rights, Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization and bilateral trade, Interfax reported.

Gutierrez also met with representatives of a number of U.S. companies, including Boeing, Coca-Cola, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ford Motor, General Motors, Exxon, Intel, United Technologies and Alcoa.

At an hour-long roundtable, the companies told Gutierrez about the successes of doing business in the country, said Andrew Somers, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow.

"It's not an easy market," Somers said, adding that the benefits outweighed the difficulties U.S. firms faced in the country. "The issues are manageable," he said.

A number of U.S. companies, however, have recently faced problems operating in the country.

PwC's Russian license could be under threat after tax authorities recently found the auditor guilty of concealing financial irregularities at bankrupt oil company Yukos. (Story, Page 6.)

Last year, the police confiscated tens of thousands of Motorola mobile phones and destroyed some of them on the grounds that they posed a danger to consumers' health. At the start of his three-day visit on Monday, Gutierrez and U.S. Ambassador William Burns visited a Motorola shop and posed for photographs in an apparent effort to buttress the firm's standing in the country.

It was not immediately clear whether Gutierrez and Ivanov, who is also the head of the United Aviation Company, discussed ways to increase cooperation between Russia's aviation companies and Boeing.

As Russia's attention shifts in favor of Boeing's rival, Airbus' parent company the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., Gutierrez is keen to revitalize ties between Boeing and Russian firms.

On Tuesday, Aeroflot said its board had approved a deal to lease 13 Airbus planes through 2009. Aeroflot has chosen to give a plane order to Airbus for its future A350, thereby dealing a blow to Boeing.

In an apparent reference to Boeing, Gutierrez told students at the Higher School of Economics on Monday that an aerospace company with a research and development center in Russia had "an opportunity to create new products" and sell them to third countries jointly with Russians.

On Wednesday, Gutierrez is scheduled to hold talks with Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref during the American Chamber of Commerce's Eighth Annual Investment Conference.

A visit by Gutierrez to Ukraine on Wednesday and Thursday, including a meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, has been called off, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said Tuesday. President Viktor Yushchenko dissolved the country's parliament late Monday night and called for new elections.