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State Duma Rejects Bill for State Monopoly on Oil Exports - 10 April, 2003

The State Duma rejected a bill yesterday for the introduction of a state monopoly on oil exports. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, the bill was only supported by 190 members of the State Duma, whereas 226 was the minimum number of votes needed.

Those in favour of the bill were proposing that specialised federal enterprises, in which the government has a controlling stake, should have the exclusive right to export oil, petrol and fuel. A supervisory board (with representatives of the Russian Audit Chamber and government) would be set up to maintain control of the enterprises' operations. The intention of the bill was to ensure that Russian oil was never sold for less than 90% of average world oil prices.

The Russian government and the State Duma committee on economic policy were critical of the bill. According to the Russian government, the introduction of a state monopoly on oil exports would contradict article 8 of the Russian constitution, which guarantees the economic freedom of private enterprises.

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