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U.S. grants Russia market economy status

The U.S. government recognized Russia as a full-fledged market economy on 6 June, Western and Russian news agencies reported. U.S. President George W. Bush informed President Vladimir Putin of the decision by telephone. According to AP, the Russian government estimates that the U.S. decision will increase Russian exports to the United States by about $1.5 billion annually.

Speaking on RTR television, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref expressed hope that the decision will lead the United States "to reconsider all the previously introduced antidumping procedures" that have been initiated, ITAR-TASS reported. "The step also opens new opportunities for investments in Russia, making them more predictable as products produced in our country can be supplied on major world markets on a competitive, nondiscriminatory basis," Gref said. The European Union announced a similar decision on 29 May.

...and western markets respond

The U.S. decision to grant Russia market-economy status is producing a sharp increase in demand for shares in Russian companies, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 June. An unnamed source in a Western bank told the news agency that many Western investment funds are buying up Russian blue-chip stocks in order to increase the share of Russian securities in their portfolios.

(RFE/RL 07.vi.02)

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