U.S. Announces Market Economy Status For Russia

By Agence France-Presse The United States has determined that Russia has successfully completed the transition to a market economy, retroactive to April 1, the Commerce Department announced June 6. "I congratulate Russia for their designation as a market economy under U.S. law. This decision made by the Commerce Department was made in accordance of the law and reflects the tremendous economic changes that Russia had made over the last decade," says Commerce Secretary Donald Evans. As a non-market economy, Russia had been exempt from U.S. countervailing duty laws -- which allow punitive measures to be taken against countries that unfairly subsidize their industries -- because it is impossible to determine where to draw the line on unfair subsidies. Under the new market economy status, Russia would be subject to that retaliatory action. On the other hand, market economy status is seen as a step toward accession to the World Trade Organization, a goal of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and President George W. Bush. Any anti-dumping cases brought against Russia would use Russian prices for determining punitive tariff levels. As a non-market economy, comparable surrogate figures are used. In general, the change is likely to accelerate trade between the two countries. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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