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A Russian delegation to the United States met with representatives of major automakers
A Russian delegation to the United States, headed by Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko, met with representatives of major automakers, the ministry's press service said Thursday. General Motors (GM) displayed its new hydrogen-propelled vehicle, a project being developed in collaboration with the research center the company recently opened in Russia. GM and Russian carmaker AutoVAZ established a joint enterprise in 2001, which is to receive $230 million in investment. The Chevrolet-Niva is one of its major projects. At a meeting with Ford representatives, the minister said the Russian government had already issued regulations to reduce some and abolishing other customs duties on components imported for assembling foreign motor vehicles. "These regulations were adopted especially to attract investors, and not only foreign ones. This is not a policy of compulsion but a natural business decision based on the logic of private business," Khristenko said. A Ford spokesman said the company was studying Russia's new approach in the automotive industry and drafting proposals to produce components in Russia. Ford has a plant near St. Petersburg, in which it has invested $150 million. As a result, Russian components account for 30% of production costs. The Russian automobile market was one of the most dynamic consumer markets in 2000-2004, with its value growing from $7 billion to $18 billion during the period.
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