Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has urged the United States to settle certain acute outstanding questions in bilateral trade and economic relations. Addressing California's politicians and business people this Tuesday, he pointed to certain long-standing chronic problems, including the complete and ultimate cancelation of the Jackson amendment in regard to Russia. This issue has been finally given a practical effect and a corresponding bill is being already considered in the US Congress, he noted. The minister also expressed hopes that Russia would be finally granted the market status under US trade legislation. Our other concern is the practice of restricted access for Russian commodities to the American market, said the minister, adding that this hardly answers the principle of free and fair trade. Different types of commodities are involved, but above all steel. The minister urged lifting bans and restrictions in the sphere of technology transfers, which are still valid despite "a new quality of our relations". This results in American computer companies being barred from exporting their advanced products to Russia while the latter is not allowed to contribute our technologies to the US efforts to overcome budgetary problems in the international space station programme. Ivanov declared that Russia was prepared for a full-fledged trade, investment and technological cooperation with the USA and would do everything possible to ensure the highest level of dialogue. Confidence was expressed that the USA "will make a correct choice in favour of direct and active participation in this process".
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated