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Russia: U.S. Commerce Official Seeks Improved Business Climate

Washington, 2 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley says that U.S.-Russian trade is likely to remain stagnant for another year unless Russia's business climate is improved.

Daley told the U.S.-Russia Business Council meeting in Washington yesterday that a few of what he called key actions could push the value of bilateral trade from the 1996 level of $7 billion to $10 billion very quickly.

However, he said the legal framework in Russia, especially for taxation and energy, is not yet sufficient to draw a major increase in direct investment. Daley said tax reform and production sharing agreements for oil exploration would help generate huge amounts of foreign investment, but also, and more importantly, they would significantly increase domestic investment.