The visiting session of the World Economic Forum to be held in Moscow on October 29th to 30th should focus not only on positive changes in the Russian economy, but also on finding solutions to issue which Western investors can resolve, said Vladimir Nikitin, Chairman of the Commission on Foreign Debt and Assets in the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament. The burden of Russia's foreign debt hinders mutually beneficial economic cooperation and implementation of joint projects. Therefore, in the opinion of the Duma deputy, it is necessary that the West assume a fairer position on the problem of Russian debt payments, which emerged in late 80s and early 90s mainly for political reasons. Mr. Nikitin also said that the process of Russian membership in the WTO should not be forced. "Russia is to go a long way to avoid damaging entire sectors of its economy," Mr. Nikitin thinks. Duma Deputy and Doctor of Economics Konstantin Remchukov also believes that prospects of Russia's economic development "may become much graver if we attempt to join the WTO in a hurry." In his opinion, domestic production in Russia will fall dramatically. Domestic and foreign producers are not comparable, Mr. Remchukov said. He stressed that for example in the next 10 years the U.S. administration would allocate $173 billion to support the agricultural sector. Today, the Russian industrial sector survives only thanks to custom tariffs that prevent an inflow of cheap imported products. After Russia becomes a WTO member, these tariffs would have to be lifted. Doing away with obstacles that prevent foreign-made products from appearing on the Russian market would deliver a major blow to the Russian industrial sector, in particular, in the regions, the parliamentarian thinks.
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