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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Dodges Miller’s Idea on Import Tariffs

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller on Saturday told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that he opposed a proposed hike in the gas extraction tax, suggesting instead the introduction of import tariffs.

The Finance Ministry said Friday that a hike in the gas export tariff could bring in an extra 53 billion rubles ($1.71 billion), while increasing the extraction tax would add another 7 billion rubles.

“I do not think these proposals are justified at the current time,” Miller said, according to a transcript published on the government web site.

“I think it advisable to look into the question of introducing an import tariff for Gazprom’s gas purchases abroad. That could be a source of extra income for the federal budget.”

Putin replied that import tariffs were not just an economic question. “We will return to this later,” he said.

As the world faces its deepest crisis since the Great Depression, some countries have been increasingly looking to protectionist measures as a way to help domestic economies.

The meeting comes a day after Putin met steel barons and pledged to help the sector by stimulating demand and steps to offset protectionism in other countries. Miller said that for its part, Gazprom already buys 90 percent of its pipes from Russian producers.