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Forest McNeir: "Foreign autos are harmful to the Russian national enconomy"

I agree that Russians' purchase of foreign automobiles is harmful to the Russian national economy.  In prosperous times, perhaps this is a luxury that can be afforded but not when so many Russian citizens need jobs.  The Russian automotive industry could be competitive in the global market. 

But, first, it must be a protected industry in Russia, as were the US, Korean, Japanese and German auto makers before they became mature industries.  There must be import tariffs as high as necessary to make imported brands cost prohibitive at least for the time being.  An admittedly symbolic more than substantive, but nevertheless important gesture would be for the Russian President and all other public officials to get rid of all foreign manufactured vehicles from their fleets, provided a domestically produced equivalent is available.  The Presidential limousine is a case in point.  Why would President Putin EVER ride in a Mercedes limousine instead of a ZiL?  And why would police (or militsia) use Ford patrol cars instead of Volgas?
 
If such models cannot be produced by domestic manufacturers, where possible, production licenses from foreign manufacturers should be purchased.  The key here is not only that autos should be manufactured in Russia, but also that these be Russian brands, not foreign brands manufactured in Russia in plants owned by foreign corporations.
 
Russia has enormous natural resources.  The nations should develop these resources for their own industries, not for foreign industries, except for what is left over after the needs of domestic industries are met in full, including measured but steady growth.
 
Forest McNeir

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