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The Russian Cabinet has approved a plan to develop domestic metallurgy in the period from 2007 to 2008
The Russian Cabinet has approved a plan to develop domestic metallurgy in the period from 2007 to 2008. Russian metallurgy stands firmly on its feet and is making headway with confidence, Deputy Minister of Industry and Energy Andrei Reus said. Reporting on prospects for the development of metallurgy in Russia, Reus said the state should give a new impulse to boost the competitiveness of this branch of industry to ensure a stable socio-economic development of the country. "Metallurgy is a basic branch of industry," Reus said, "its share in Russia's GDP makes up some 5 percent. We rank first in the world in terms of nickel production and second in aluminum and titanium." "As of now, nine large companies and corporate groups have emerged in ferrous metallurgy, which makes it a sphere of competence of big-time business," according to him. Investments in the branch made up 154.6 billion roubles in 2005, and are expected to reach 195 billion roubles this year. "It's necessary to transfer from tactical reacting to problems of the branch to metallurgy development strategy until 2015," Reus underlined. Among the problems of this sector, Reus named the depreciation of basic assets, which totals 50 percent in ferrous metallurgy and more than 40 percent in non-ferrous metallurgy. "Many companies need major equipment upgrades," he noted. The use of the Investment Fund mechanism is one of the ways to resolve infrastructure restrictions, according to the Ministry of Industry and Energy. "I also wish to note that no modernization of metallurgy is possible without the training of highly qualified specialists," Reus said. It's also necessary to work out a system of technical regulation and standardization. The implementation of a range of measures to develop the branch will benefit the formation of budgets of all levels, and ensure the solution of ecological problems and a balanced development and social stability in the regions where metallurgical companies operate," the deputy minister said. It was stated in the course of the Cabinet meeting that Russia will seek revision of the West's discriminatory measures against domestic metallurgists. "We aren't satisfied with the situation on international markets, where Russian exporter companies encounter direct resistance. We are actually driven to the niche occupied by countries specializing in raw materials," Reus underlined. As of October 1, 2006, 38 restrictive measures were in effect against Russian products in 18 countries of the world. It's ridiculous that such countries as Mexico, Peru and Venezuela have not acknowledged Russia a market economy yet," Reus stressed. The EU introduced an antidumping tax for seamless pipes as a result of a probe conducted along non-market principles, Reus went on to say. For non-ferrous metals, the European Union is planning to introduce new rules, under which the duty on aluminum products will increase to 7.5 percent, which will result in a decrease in Russian exports to the EU by 20 to 30 percent "We need to carry out active work on a permanent basis on the revision of protection measures used against Russian producers by importers," the deputy minister underscored. "Today, it's not so much companies as states that compete with each other. So Russian trade missions and embassies should play an in important role in this work. Also, it's necessary to use other forms and forum for protecting our interests, in particular, APEC and intergovernmental commissions," Reus said.
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