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Kazakhstan: Trade With Russia Rising

Almaty, 2 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakhstan says its trade with Russia increased 80 percent in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year because of the customs union among Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Nigmatzhan Isingarin, Kazakhstan's deputy prime minister who also heads the four countries' integration committee, said Almaty and Moscow have cleared all state debts. But he said Kazakh companies owe Russia about $400 million for electricity, while Russia has not paid more than $400 million for leasing the Baikonur space-launch site.

An Almaty newspaper also says Russia is pressuring Almaty to reduce the amount of hard currency travelers may take with them when traveling aboard from Kazakhstan. Russia's limit is $500 for travelers from its territory, while Kazakhstan's limit is $10,000.

Our correspondent reports that many Russians are scheduling travel from Kazakhstan in order to avoid Russia's hard-currency restrictions.