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An agreement on the assembly of Volkswagens in Stupino will be signed in January 2005
An agreement on the assembly of Volkswagens in Stupino, Moscow region, will be signed in January 2005, Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Andrei Sharonov said Friday, Vremya Novostei reported. In June 2001, President Vladimir Putin gave Volkswagen's plan to build a factory in Russia most favorable treatment. In an interview in October 2001, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said, "The implementation of the new project should begin early next spring." In spring 2002, no statements were made about this and in August 2002, Thorsten Bradler, head of Volkswagen Russia, contradicted Mr. Gref's statements. Mr. Bradler said the assembly of Volkswagens in Russia would be inexpedient because of Russians' low purchasing power. Negotiations resumed in February 2003. At a September press conference in the US, Volkswagen President Berndt Pischetsrieder said VW was considering the possibility of building an assembly plant in Russia within 18 months. He said it did not make sense for Volkswagen to manufacture cheap cars costing about 5,000 euros and that Volkswagen had decided instead to assemble Volkswagen Touran, a 20,000-25,000 euro compact car. This statement contradicted Mr. Bradler's statement. The reason the Germans have been slow and unable to reach an agreement is the absence of a stable and predictable investment policy in Russia. Experts believe that VW could not make a decision on the plant in Russia because of unsettled issues about exporting car parts for domestic assembly. On Friday, Mr. Sharonov confirmed the government's intention "to maximally reduce duties on the import of equipment [from 10-15% to 0-3%] but to preserve high duties on imported cars."
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