State Duma concerned about Russian automobile industry

The State Duma of Russia addressed itself to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov with a request to resolve the situation with car production in Russia and consider the possibilities of rendering government assistance to the national automobile industry. A relative resolution was approved at today's session of the parliament's lower house.

According to deputies, despite the fact that Russia approved a concept for the development of the automobile industry through 2010, the majority of car manufacturers reported the situation with car sales was aggravated since the second half of 2002. In their opinion, this happened due to a substantial increase in imports of new and used cars from abroad and a decrease in demand for Russian cars. As a result, the volume of car manufacturing shrank, a number of car companies reported production halts and the amount of tax payments to budgets of all levels dropped.

Therefore, deputies asked Kasyanov to consider the possibility of the government purchasing Russian cars and using them for settling state debts. 1.5bn rubles (about $47.2m) were budgeted for this purpose in 2003.

243 deputies supported the resolution with three against it.