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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 9, 2000

9 March 2000
Tatarstan To Open Consulates In Germany, Vietnam
Tatarstan will open representative offices in Germany and Vietnam this year, Minister of Trade and Economic Cooperation Khafiz Salikhov announced on 7 March. Salikhov said that Germany was one of Tatarstan's most important foreign trade partners. It is reported that the Kazan optical-mechanics plant is studying the idea starting cooperation with Germany's Zeiss optical company. The republic is also interested in joint projects in medicines and German orders for local foundry factories. According to Salikhov, Tatarstan will also establish an office in Vietnam in order to coordinate the exports of KamAZ vehicles. KamAZ will also supply new trucks and spare parts for vehicles sent from the Soviet Union more than 10 years ago. Salikhov said that future foreign representations both in Germany and Vietnam would be funded by "alternative sources" and not from the republican budget. Tatarstan currently has representatives offices in France, Australia, Turkey, the U.S., Cuba, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Austria, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.

Tatarstan's Parliamentary Speaker Throws Support Behind Putin
The republican press quoted Tatarstan's State Council chairman, Farit Mukhametshin, as saying on 7 March that he personally supports acting President Vladimir Putin's candidacy in the upcoming Russian presidential election. Mukhametshin said that the current rating of Putin in Tatarstan was about 37 percent. He added that Putin's ratings would increase if he paid a visit to Kazan.

YelAZ-GM Venture To Expand Dealer's Network
A joint venture between Tatarstan's YelAZ automotive plant and the General Motors Corporation intends to expand its sales network across the Russian Federation, the AK&M agency reported on 8 March. Seventeen dealers represent YelAZ-GM in Russia at the moment. The company reportedly sold some 500 Chevrolet Blazers in 1999, worth some $1 million. With over 3,000 vehicles being produced from 1997-1999, 2,700 of them were sold. Current plans are to boost the sales of Blazers and Opel Vectras -- which are to go into serial production this year.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi