Russia's President Vladimir Putin looks forward to business activities graphically promoting new Russian-US relations, he said in a public address at the Rice University. American business circles have been looking at the Russian market with ever greater interest within a few recent years, as Russia now offers good terms for investing in many fields. Russian economic progress maintains enviable rates. The gross domestic product is expected to increase by 5.7-5.8%, or even 6%, by the year's end. Industrial output is steadily going up. All those improvements are possible not only with a beneficial economic situation outside Russia but because inner stimuli have become active in the country--especially in banking, with industrial loans growing by more than 40%. Legal arrangements are far more encouraging than before--suffice it to mention a law, to enter into force next July, on which ventures will be registered on the one-window principle. An absence of precise landholding legislation was badly harassing economic progress for many years. Now, a new Land Code is sure to encourage business and promote investment. The latest bills against money-laundering show that Russia has entered open combat on Black Biz, which is gnawing at the national economy. Aboveboard business, on the contrary, has federal support, and its protection increased of late. Russian corporate management is improving. A recently drafted corporate managerial code proceeds from global business standards. The President laid special stress on Russian taxation getting softer, and specified for his audience new income and profit tax rates.
Following Lithuania, Norway has joined the anti-Russian frenzy as well and declared a blockade against the Russian town of Barentsburg. However, Norway has not taken into account the fact that Svalbard is not its original territory