Severstal to boost exports to China

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Severstal, one of Russia’s biggest steel mills, said it plans to increase exports to China by 30 percent. Officials from Severstal Export GmbH, the company’s foreign trading arm, signed a new one-year partnership deal with China’s Minmet during a visit to China. The Chinese company will receive a total of 450,000-480,000 tonnes of metal per year. The shipments cover all types of metal produced by Severstal. When signing the deal, which entered into effect on July 1, understandings were reached o...


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Palladium market revival

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The burden of reviving the world palladium market, which is so volatile and unpredictable at the moment, rests with Russia and South Africa, the world’s biggest producers of the metal. “Constant price fluctuations have made the palladium market illiquid and volatile,” Norilsk Nickel Mining and Metals Company Deputy CEO Maksim Finsky said. “To all intents and purposes the spot market is dead, and as little as 1,000 ounces of metal can bring it down in a flash,” Finsky told reporters. “As long as ...


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OMK to bid for Sakhalin-2 deals

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Russian pipe producers intend to bid in tenders for the right to supply pipes for the second phase of the Sakhalin-2 hydrocarbons project. Svetlana Vigdof, deputy public relations chief at United Metallurgical Company (OMK), said the company’s pipe mills would definitely be bidding. OMK is now being audited in preparation, Vigdof said. Bids will be made specifically by OMK’s Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Mill and the Vyksa Metallurgical Plant. Vigdof recalled that the Vyksa works had already won a te...


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Russia may stop buying corn and soy from US

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Russian First Deputy Agricultural Minister Sergei Dankvert said his country might stop importing corn and soy from the United States. This is linked to divergent approaches towards genetically-modified products in Russian and US law, Interfax quoted him as saying....


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Ministry approves sale of Vena stock to BBH

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Russia’s Antitrust Ministry has given the green light for the sale of 49.95 percent of the stock in St Petersburg-based brewery Vena to the Scandinavian concern Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), Interfax quoted Vena sources as saying. This decision is contained in a letter the ministry sent Vena on June 24.
On November 30 last year, BBH became the owner of 49.95 percent of the stock in Vena, having acquired it from Danish brewing giant Carlsberg. Until then, Carlsberg had held 99.9 percent of the...


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Ostapets says juice market could develop faster

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The rate at which Russia’s market for juice, fruit drinks and nectars is growing could speed up, Russian Juice Producers Union President Valery Ostapets told a press conference in Moscow. “Russia’s juice market is one of the most rapidly growing in the world, and it is possible it could grow more than 25 percent over last year by the end of the current year,” Interfax quoted him as saying. This particular market accounted for 1.2 billion litres of product last year.
Ostapets noted that Russia’...


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Ships carrying US poultry need new certificate after August 1

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Russia will not be accepting vessels carrying poultry from the United States under the old veterinary certificate after August 1. “The Russian veterinary service directs attention to the fact that starting August 1, 2002, ships carrying poultry meat from the US will be allowed to unload in Russia only if they have in their possession the new type of veterinary certificate,” Interfax quoted a statement issued by the Agriculture Ministry’s veterinary department as saying.
Ships carrying the old v...


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Russian per capita GDP put at 18% of US

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Russia’s per capita GDP based on purchasing power parity amounts to 18 percent of the GDP of the United States, the State Statistics Committee, citing a comparison of the GDP of Russia and other countries based on 1999 data.
In 1996 Russian per capita GDP amounted to 24 percent to that of the United States. The drop in this figure is due equally to two factors: the dramatic change in the structure of Russian GDP due to the increase in the proportion of net exports in GDP from four percent to 17...


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Consumer price inflation reaches 0.5% in June

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Consumer price inflation in Russia slowed to 0.5 percent in June from 1.7 percent in May, 1.2 percent in April, 1.1 percent in March, 1.2 percent in February and 3.1 percent in January, Interfax reported, citing data from the state statistics committee. Inflation slowed to 9.0 percent in the first half of 2002 from 12.7 percent in the same period of 2001. Average daily inflation in June slowed by two-thirds to 0.018 percent from 0.054 percent in the previous month and 0.054 percent in June 2001....


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New law on competition in commodities market at hand

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Russian Antitrust Minister Ilya Yuzhanov said a new law on competition on the commodities markets will be passed within a year. “The existing law was passed in 1991 and a large number of amendments have been made in the recent past. However, it noticeably lags behind the international level,” Interfax quoted him as saying. Ukraine has outpaced Russian in this area, having passed a law on the protection of economic competition, which is more in line with European norms, Yuzhanov said.
“The passi...


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Signing of Kuwait, Moldova labour deal

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Up to 10,000 Moldavians will be offered jobs in Kuwait under a labour agreement set to be signed by the two countries, AP quoted the Moldavian government as saying. Moldova’s Migration Minister Tudor Olaru negotiated a labour agreement with the Kuwaiti Deputy Justice Minister, Abdel Al-Fatah, who visited the tiny former Soviet state recently. It was not immediately clear when the deal would be signed. “Kuwait is mainly interested in doctors, nurses, construction workers and land improvement work...


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Government bans cane sugar sale

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The Moldavian government imposed ban on internal sales of cane sugar. At the same time, the cabinet withdrew its proposal to introduce 25 percent excise on raw cane sugar imports. Infotag quoted Moldavian Prime Minister Vasily Tarlev as saying that such a decision was made in the interest of Moldavian beetroot sugar producers. “From now on, the entire volume of cane sugar produced in the country will be exported and its imports will become subjected to VAT and customs duties in order to eliminat...


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Harvest starts ahead of time

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Compared to 2001, this year wheat harvest in Moldova has started two weeks earlier. Ministry of Agriculture chief specialist Grigore Barabos said so far have been collected over 4,000 tonnes from the area of 2,000 hectares. The fastest gathering pace was demonstrated in Cahul Judet, followed by Balti and Tighina. The experts maintain that the early start and finish of harvest campaign will allow to bring down losses, which in 2001 were enormous due to heavy rains....


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Talks on Transdnestr settlement

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The next meeting of the permanent conference for political aspects of the Transdnestr settlement will be held in Chisinau in August. Deputy State Secretary of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Ihor Kharchenko told journalists, following two-day talks in Kiev between representatives of Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Transdnestria and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, that the August talks will involve envoys in charge of political issues in the current five-party format. He describ...


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Kuchma, EU pledge to work for strategic partnership

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The Ukraine-EU summit held in Copenhagen was a landmark in establishing closer ties and consolidating the cooperation between the two sides, Interfax reported, citing a statement signed by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, European Council President Anders Fog Rasmussen, Council Secretary General Javier Solana and European Commission President Romano Prodi.
The two sides confirmed their desire to step up strategic cooperation aimed at promoting stability and prosperity in Europe, democracy, re...


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Western elite sees strong economic potential in Ukraine

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As many as 81 percent of foreign political figures, leading journalists and businessmen regard believe that Western society knows too little about Ukraine, 21.5 percent see Ukraine as a country with a promising future, and 68.6 percent as a country with a strong economic potential. These are the findings of a poll of over 1,500 people in 15 European Union member nations, Switzerland, Norway, the United States and Canada, carried out by Austria’s MIP and Tronfaelds companies contracted by the cha...


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Ukraine ponders retaliation against Russian steel duty

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Ukraine may retaliate against the four-month import duty of 31.8 percent on galvanised steel to be imposed by Moscow.
Interfax quoted government sources in Kiev as saying Ukraine would try all diplomatic means to avoid the wide scale use of anti-dumping duties and other prohibitive measures in trade between the two countries.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov July 4 signed a resolution ushering in four-month anti-dumping duties of 31.8 percent on galvanised steel imported from Ukraine a...


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VTB to invest in aircraft building, defence, aluminium

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Russia’s Vneshtorgbank (VTB) plans to invest in the Ukrainian industrial sector, including the aircraft building and aluminium industries, as well as the military industrial complex, Interfax quoted the Chairman of VTB’s Executive Board, Andrei Kostin, as saying on July 8. He discussed these investment projects with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, who welcomed the role of Russian financial institutions in promoting Ukraine’s economic development, the banker noted. Kuchma said Ukraine wants to...


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Robertson visits Kiev to mark five years of partner relations

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NATO General Secretary George Robertson, speaking in Ukraine, said on July 9 the former Soviet republic is far from joining the Atlantic alliance in the foreseeable future. Robertson, who arrived in Ukraine late on July 8 on a three-day working visit to mark five years of partner relations, met with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Foreign Minister Anatoly Zlenko and other senior officials for talks on closer cooperation.
Specific topics included passage of NATO aircraft through Ukrainian air...


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Kinakh cabinet enjoys support of 40% – poll

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A total of 40 percent of Ukrainians would oppose the resignation of Anatoly Kinakh’s cabinet, whose activities promote the stabilisation of the country’s economy, while 28 percent would support resignation, because the cabinet’s activities resulted in the deterioration of economic performance. Another 29 percent were undecided, Interfax reported, citing a poll conducted by Sotsiopolis centre’s analytical group. As few as 13 percent believe that Kinakh and his cabinet have been successful in prom...


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Parliament to act against money laundering

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Ukraine’s parliament soon will pass legislation cracking down on money laundering, President Leonid Kuchma said on July 5. “Our country will soon be crossed from the list,” he said, of countries accused of not cooperating with the international fight against laundering illicit profits from organised crime.
Ukraine is one of 15 countries or territories targeted by a financial task force on money laundering set up in 1989 by the leading industrialised nations.
Kuchma spoke with reporters after m...


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Kuchma calls for reform of troubled state coal industry

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Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on July 8 declared the situation in the national coal industry “unacceptable,” and demanded an early accounting for a recent disaster in a Ukrainian mine. A fire raced through a coal pit in the town of Ukrainsk of Donetsk region, some 750 kilometres east of Ukraine’s capital Kiev, on July 7 killing 35 miners.
Ukraine’s largely unprofitable mines have one of the highest accident rates in the world due to poor maintenance and neglect of safety regulations.
Luha...


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Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus

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Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus does not think that individual statements by radically-minded Russian politicians will complicate the development of good relations between Vilnius and Moscow. “Lithuania can maintain good relations with America, Europe and Russia, and is in fact doing so,” Lithuanian National Television quoted Adamkus as saying. “Lithuania and Russia came to terms on the border back in 1991 (when the bilateral agreement on the principles of intergovernmental relations and on ...


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USD 10,000 to be awarded for information about Nazis

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The Simon Wiesenthal centre, which is investigating crimes against Jews during World War II, has designated an award of USD 10,000 for information that will help bring Nazi criminals to justice, chief of the Centre’s Jerusalem Bureau Efraim Zuroff and head of the Miami-based Charitable Fund Targum Shlishi, Airie Rubin, announced in Vilnius. Zuroff said that legal action against Nazi criminals was insufficient in Lithuania. He also said that Kazis Gimzauskas, accused of assisting the Nazis in Lit...


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Lithuania hosts European stunt flying championship

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Panevezys, Lithuania, was expected to host the 13th European stunt-flying championship running from July 10 to 22. The Russian national team was expected to include people from the Sukhoi aircraft design bureau. The Sukhoi design bureau’s delegation was headed by deputy general designer Stanislav Rubanov, who also supervises the Sukhoi Aerobatic Planes programme. Moreover, Rubanov is a merited designer of Russia. The Sukhoi team comprises stunt flyers as 25-time world champion and two-time world...


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Lithuanian deputies set to re-open EU chapter

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Members of the Lithuanian parliament hope to follow Malta’s lead in asking the EU for special restrictions on the sale of land to foreigners. The Baltic state’s parliament wants the government to re-open the chapter on the free movement of capital with the EU.
The chapter was closed last year under the former government, and a motion for any transitional period for sale of land to EU citizens was turned down at the time.
But parliament members of the new ruling left-wing coalition unanimously...


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Adamkus, EU discuss new nuclear reactor construction

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The European Union would not object to Lithuania building and operating a safe nuclear reactor. Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus has told EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenther Verheugen that his country is considering the possibility of building a state-of-the-art nuclear reactor, Interfax quoted the presidential press service as saying. Verheugen said every country has the right to use nuclear energy, but it should meet safety requirements.
The EU does not think that this Lithuanian deci...


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Latvian government to give funds to appease medics

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The Latvian government on July 9 resolved to grant 3.2 million lats (5.4 million Euros) for a pay rise to medical staff as of October 1, to bring the average monthly salary to medics to 140 lats. BNS quoted Welfare Minister Viktors Jaksons as telling reporters that the Finance Ministry has to find one million lats for the purpose and the rest of the money will be taken from the special health care budget reserves. Commenting on the government decision, Jaksons said he was pleased that the minist...


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Jackson: Latvia’s NATO hopes good

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Latvia has a good opportunity of being allowed entry into NATO in November this year, Bruce Jackson, chief of the US committee on NATO, told Latvian Defence Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis in Riga. The two sides discussed the issues necessary to be solved for Latvia’s accession to NATO, as well as its tasks once NATO member states made a decision on enlargement favouring Latvia. NATO leaders will meet this November in the Czech capital of Prague to decide the issue. One of Latvia’s tasks is to...


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Estonia drafts energy act

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The Estonian Economy Ministry has prepared and sent to the government a new Energy Market Act, RFE/RL reported. The act takes into account Estonian negotiators’ success with the European Union in postponing until 2008 the EU’s requirement that 35 percent of the energy market be deregulated by 2003. At present, only those consumers who use more than 40 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year can freely select their electricity provider. Thus, the Estonian market is only about 10 percent deregulated....


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Sappers to Afghanistan

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The Estonian government decided to send a team of sappers from the Estonian Rescue Service to Afghanistan, Ria Novosti reported. A team of five experts and three specially trained dogs will fly for Afghanistan on the US request. Deputy director general of the Estonian Rescue Service, Janus Vessart, said the Estonian sappers would participate in an antiterrorist operation. All aspects of the Estonian sappers’ mission in Afghanistan have already been settled with Americans through diplomatic chann...


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Energy council approves bond issue in Estonia

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The Estonian supervisory council of the utility Eesti Energia approved on July 8 a 200 million Euro bond issue, RFE/RL reported. The issue, which will be organised by SchrodersSalomonSmithBarney, is intended to help finance the renovation of the utility’s two large shale-oil power stations.
In preparation for the bond issue, the government obtained credit ratings for the utility from international rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
The ratings, which are the same as those of Eston...


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EMT: Estonians, Latvians likely to buy Nokia phones

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According to figures from Estonia’s leading mobile telephone operator EMT, 57.6 percent of the company’s clients used Nokia handsets in June, BNS reported. Nokia remains the most popular mobile telephone on Latvian mobile operator Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) network, as 64.9 percent of its clients were using Nokias. In addition, Nokia has been the favourite among LMT customers since last July, when Nokia mobile telephones were used by 64.4 percent of LMT clients.
Of EMT clients, the next p...


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Regulator to hear complaints over Telia-Sonera merger

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Latvia’s competition watchdog, the Competition Council, has called on all those involved in the merger of Sweden’s telecoms company Telia and Finland’s Sonera Corporation to file any concerns over the consolidation, BNS reported on July 9.
The news agency quoted the council as saying that although the merger is taking place outside Latvia, it will still have a direct effect on Latvia’s market and should be considered by professional bodies and professionals in the associated industries. In addi...


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Estonia has highest Internet users among Baltic states

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About 41 percent of Estonia’s population 6-74 is using the Internet, BNS reported, citing to a survey by research firm Emor. The survey outlined that there are about 410,000 Internet users in the 15-74 age group and about 84,000 users in the 6-14 group, Internet portal Delfi said.
However, Latvia Internet usage in the 15-74 age group is reportedly running at 16 percent Internet use. In Lithuania the figure is 18 percent.
According to the latest poll by Gallup e-Ratings, Delfi is the leading In...


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Dorsey Holdings buys 91% stake in Frial

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Dorsey Holdings of Gibraltar has clinched a 90.9 percent stake in Frial, a Constanta-based warehouse operator. The transaction was completed via a public purchasing offer, according to BBW. Dorsey Holdings forked out 43.9 billion lei (USD 1.3 million) for the stake, or 100,000 lei per share. Dorsey Holdings initiated the public purchase offer at the end of April, but did not succeed in drawing in sellers at the original price of 50,000 lei per share, BBW wrote. As a result, the firm chose to hik...


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Sweepstone Investments gains majority stake in Policolor

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Sweepstone Investments Ltd., is reportedly a majority shareholder in Policolor, dye maker located in Bucharest. It now controls nearly 97 percent of the Romanian company, BBW reported. Conversely, Romanian Reconstruction Capital (RRC) eased its participation and has been pulled out from the list of majority shareholders. BBW quoted market sources as saying Sweepstone was set up by Capital SA, a company that oversees RRC, to convert the shares between the two funds. “The move could have been trig...


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