The visit of the American president to Russia has become the top event not only in Russia, but in the whole world. The problems, which are going to be discussed during the negotiations, are very important for the development of the dialogue between the two countries, both from the economic and political points of view.
There is a problem with the economic issue, though. Before Bush left for Russia, a lot of Russian politicians and experts set out their hopes that the legendary Jackson-Vanik’s amendment would be cancelled. Needless to mention that the American president wanted to make a present to the Russian leader too, in order to bury another relic of the Cold War era. However, democratic senators did not do a good turn to the republican president. The amendment has not been lifted because the senators are very concerned about the fate of the chickens that are delivered from the USA to Russia.
It goes without saying that the perspectives of the commercial and economic cooperation between Russia and America have been paid a lot of attention to during the talks. For the time being it is too early to talk about the certain results of this aspect of the Russian-American summit. But the difference in the estimation of the future economic links is eye-catching: optimistic on Russia’s part and constraining on America's.
The head of the Russian Ministry for Economic Development and Trade, German Gref, stated that the USA would most likely acknowledge Russia as a market economy country until June 14. Bush did not come out with a certain date, but he said that Russia would soon get the answer to this question.
Nevertheless, if the solution of this question is positive, then there will be an opportunity for Russia and all Russian enterprises to start the procedures for reconsidering anti-dumping duties. There will also be wide opportunities for delivering Russian goods to American markets. Jackson-Vanik amendment would vanish in the past as well.
Furthermore, the Russian premier advised that a group of Russian experts for the issues of steel export would start working next week at the American Department of Commerce. He Russian leadership hopes that the joint work will allow to solve the problems, which appeared after the institution of restricting duties on the export of steel. Gref declared that Russia was ready to considerably increase crude deliveries to the USA. At present moment the index of the Russian oil on the American market makes up 0.2%, whereas the deliveries from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela made up 20% and 14% respectively.
The USA is interested in the reduction of the dependence on crude deliveries from Arab countries that use this circumstance for their political goals. But there is still a question, to which extent such deliveries to the USA are economically grounded. Russian oil is more expensive in comparison with Saudi Arabia’s and Venezuela’s and in addition to that - the quality of the Russian oil is lower. It is not known how to deliver it to American consumers either, and if Russian ports and pipelines are going to cope with the increased amount of the transported oil. In fact, the Russian government knows about it and German Gref pointed those problems out too.
The American president gave promises only: Russia would have the USA’s support when it is joining the WTO, the Senate would cancel Jackson-Vanik amendment and the like. Such statements do not make anyone do something. One may not say that Bush will forget them as soon as he leaves back home, but it would not be correct to say that they are going to be realized.
Russian president dropped a hint that if the USA was buying cheap Russian steel and cheap Russian aluminium, then both Russian and American planes could get cheaper and more competitive. On the whole, the economic part of the summit has not given any answers to the questions pertaining to the questions of the economic cooperation.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov