Russia files lawsuit with WTO against US duties on steel and aluminum

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Consultations with the United States will be the first stage of the dispute resolution procedure in the WTO for the parties to search for mutually acceptable ways to settle claims

© Dmitriy Rogulin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 29. /TASS/. Russia filed a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against duties imposed by the United States on steel and aluminum. Russia also requested consultations with the United States in the framework of the WTO dispute settlement procedure, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said on Friday.

“Russia filed a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization against additional US duties on steel and aluminum, and sent a request for consultations with the United States as part of the WTO dispute settlement procedure in connection with additional duties on steel products and aluminum,” according to the Ministry’s press service.

Oreshkin added that, in addition to Russia, China, India, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and Norway had earlier filed complaints against the United States with the WTO.

Consultations with the United States will be the first stage of the dispute resolution procedure in the WTO for the parties to search for mutually acceptable ways to settle claims. “If during the consultations such ways are not found, Russia will be able to apply to the WTO with a request for the establishment of an arbitration group to review the dispute,” Oreshkin said.

Source : TASS

Russian scientists begin soil pollution research on Yamal

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During the project, scientists will analyze pollution stages in Yamal’s cities and towns

© Asya Dobrovolskaya/TASS

MOSCOW, June 27. /TASS/. A group of Russian scientists received a grant from the Russian Fund for Fundamental Studies to analyze soil pollution in all cities and towns in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region. The project will last for three years, an expert of the Scientific Center for the Arctic Studies Roman Kolesnikov told TASS.

“Presently, there are certain problems with thorough analysis of the soils there, there are gaps in information about dynamics of changing agricultural landscape, and about sources of the soil’s poly-chemical pollution,” he said. “Thus, this project is important and timely for the region.”

“The studies will cover all cities and towns, like Kharsaim, Aksarka, Novy Port, Yar-Sale,” he added.

During the project, scientists will analyze pollution stages in Yamal’s cities and towns.

“The received information will be used for improvement of the local urban territory’s environment,” the scientist continued. “The studies’ fundamental importance will demonstrate migration of pollutants inside the Arctic area’s soils.”

According to the Scientific Center’s press service, the studies will feature experts from the Arctic and Antarctic Studies Institute, from the St. Petersburg State University, from the Komi Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, from the Healthcare Ministry’s Center for Strategic Planning, and from the Scientific Center for the Arctic Studies.

“The project is aimed at improvement of the ecology and sanitary conditions for the people living in the region, it will last for three years, and it is supported by a grant from the Russian Fund for Fundamental Studies and Yamal’s government,” the press service said. “At the end of studies, scientists will offer recommendations how to monitor ecological state of the local soils, how to adjust pollution norm in this specific region.”

“The collected information will be a scientific base for effective use of land,” the press service added.

The Scientific Center for the Arctic Studies was organized in the Yamalo-Nenets Region in 2010. It has directions of archeology, ethnology, social and humanitarian studies, regional studies, geology-geographic, medical and ecology-biological research.

Source : TASS

Putin approves national anti-corruption plan through 2020

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A special working group will oversee the plan’s implementation

© Alexei Nikolsky/press service of the President of Russia/TASS

MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree approving a national anti-corruption plan for 2018-2020. The corresponding document was published on the government’s legal information website on Saturday.

“I decree to approve the National Plan of Countering Corruption for 2018-2020,” the presidential decree reads.

A special working group will oversee the plan’s implementation.

“The Presidium of the Russian President’s Council for Countering Corruption shall set up a working group to monitor the implementation of measures stipulated by the National Plan of Countering Corruption,” the presidential decree says.

A report by the working group will be examined annually, the decree says.

Source : TASS

Russian Finance Ministry retains plans to attract up to $3 bln in foreign markets in 2018

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According to finance minister, the total amount of borrowings in 2019 and 2020 will remain approximately at the level of the current year

© Dmitriy Rogulin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. The Russian Finance Ministry plans to attract up to $3 bln by the end of 2018 on foreign markets, First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel.

“I think that for the second time this year we will be able to enter foreign markets for borrowing, which will be up to $3 bln by the end of this year,” he said.

According to him, the total amount of borrowings in 2019 and 2020 will remain approximately at the level of the current year. “We plan to borrow both on the domestic market, which will be the main source, and in foreign markets. We have the opportunity to enter foreign markets – this fall we will consider this issue,” he said.

According to Siluanov, in 2018, borrowing is necessary to finance planned expenditures. At the same time, the minister confirmed that later the attracted funds can be used for the Infrastructure Development Fund, which will be established in 2019.

The Russian budget for 2018 includes external borrowings totaling $7 bln, including $4 bln for exchanging old issues of Eurobonds for new debt securities.

Source : TASS

Russia’s new spaceport in Far East to switch to monthly launches no sooner than 2020

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The main thing is to ensure preparations for the launch of payloads because the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East currently has problems with that, the expert said

© Donat Sorokin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 25. /TASS/. The Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East will be able to switch to monthly launches no sooner than 2020, if a larger number of assembly and testing facilities is built there, Academician of Russia’s Tsiolkovsky Academy of Cosmonautics Alexander Zheleznyakov told TASS on Monday.

CEO of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin earlier said in an interview with RT TV Channel that the corporation planned to switch to monthly launches from the Vostochny cosmodrome instead of making two launches a year as was the case now.

“In about two years, this can be implemented. The main thing is to ensure preparations for the launch of payloads because the Vostochny currently has problems with that: there are not so many assembly and testing facilities there. Sites and workplaces are needed for that and the operations and checkout facilities for rockets would also come in handy: if such intensity is achieved [launches once a month], one such facility may not be enough,” Zheleznyakov said.

According to the academician, technically, launches can be carried out once a month even from one launch pad.

“If we recall the Soviet time, the most intensive periods of the operation of our launch installations at the Baikonur and the Plesetsk spaceports, the launches there were made even more frequently than once a month. The design of the launch pad at the Vostochny is actually the same as that at the Baikonur and the Plesetsk spaceports. That is why, this is technically possible,” the expert said.

However, in the expert’s opinion, the desire of the Roscosmos management to reach such intensity should be backed by the corresponding orders placed by the state or some commercial structures.

“There is no sense to make launches for the sake of launches. If orders are placed for such a number of launches, the Vostochny will be able to ensure that,” the expert noted, adding that the Progress Rocket and Space Center (the producer of Soyuz-2 rockets) could manufacture 20 Soyuz space vehicles a year.

If the intensity of launches from the Vostochny cosmodrome is increased, then some launches could quit the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, the expert noted.

But Russia won’t give up the Baikonur spaceport completely and some launches will remain there, he noted.

“Manned Soyuz-MS spacecraft continue blasting off from it. Besides, they will be building a site for the new Soyuz-5 medium-class rocket there,” the expert said.

Vostochny cosmodrome

Earlier, then-Roscosmos Head Igor Komarov said the state corporation planned to increase the Vostochny cosmodrome’s utilization rate from 2019 thanks to commercial launches, including under the OneWeb program.

In 2018, a Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with 11 satellites was launched from the Vostochny spaceport. The next two launches from the Vostochny cosmodrome are planned for October-November 2018. They are intended to deliver Meteor-M No.2-2 and Kanopus-V No. 5 and No. 6 satellites into orbit.

The Vostochny spaceport is Russia’s first civil cosmodrome. In April 2016, the first successful launch was carried out from the space center with the delivery of three satellites into orbit. The Vostochny will ensure Russia’s full access to outer space and reduce its dependence on the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan.

Source : TASS

Russian heavy-lift helicopter equipped with upgraded defensive aids suit enters trials

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The defensive aids suit will be capable of shielding helicopters from any existing or future air defense weapons produced abroad, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry

Mi-26 helicopter

Mi-26 helicopter

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. The Mi-26 (NATO reporting name: Halo) heavy-lift helicopter furnished with the Vitebsk defensive aids suit has been delivered to the State Flight Testing Center of Russia’s Defense Ministry in Akhtubinsk for trials, the Mil Helicopter Plant said in its annual report on Tuesday.

“For the purpose of raising the combat survivability of Mi-26 helicopters and considering the positive results of the defensive aids suit held earlier, and also in view of the upgrade of the Vitebsk defensive aids suit by way of replacing the gas laser with the solid-propellant version, the Defense Ministry of Russia has made a decision … on the procedure of arranging work for equipping serial-produced Mi-26 helicopters with the Vitebsk defensive aids suits,” the annual report says.

“In 2017, the following work was carried out: the Mi-26 helicopter furnished with the Vitebsk defensive aids suit was transferred to military unit 15650 [the State Flight Testing Center of Russia’s Defense Ministry] for control flight tests,” the document says.

As Russia’s Defense Ministry reported earlier, the defensive aids suit will be capable of shielding helicopters from any existing or future air defense weapons produced abroad.

Source : TASS

Producers of prime goods to enter into ‘special investment contracts’ in Russia

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The mechanism of ‘special investment contracts’ was enforced in 2015

The building of the government of the Russian Federation

The building of the government of the Russian Federation

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, June 25. /TASS/. Russia’s government has finalized the main parameters of a new version of ‘special investment contracts’ at a meeting attended by First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov on Monday, June 25, a source participating in the meeting told TASS.

The new format stipulates that producers of prime goods for the Russian market will be able to enter into ‘special investment contracts’.

“The government had a meeting on June 25, where a position was staked out on key parameters of ‘special investment contracts’. The position that dominated was promoted earlier by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, and envisions ‘special investment contracts’ allowed only on public tender results regarding projects producing unique goods in Russia, as well as constructing and upgrading manufacturers of high-tech products,” the source said.

A representative of Deputy PM Kozak confirmed that the meeting had been held.

The mechanism of ‘special investment contracts’ developed by the Industry and Trade Ministry together with the Economic Development Ministry primarily for industrial projects, was enforced in 2015. Local or foreign companies, as well as individual entrepreneurs, can enter into such contracts with an authorized executive authority (Ministry of Industry and Trade, regional government). In exchange for the obligation to invest in a particular industrial project, they can particularly receive tax preferences in the form of a full exemption from the property tax or a reduction in the rate of income tax to 0% (it reaches 20% by default), as well as receive guarantees of non-taxation load for the contract period.

However, in a move to ‘restart’ Russia’s investment cycle, the government has decided to expand the number of sectors covered by the mechanism. Vedomosti business daily wrote that the Finance Ministry and the Economic Development Ministry have agreed an option envisioning state subsidies provided for investors using the ‘special investment contracts’ instrument, totaling up to 50% of their capital expenditures. Both ministries share the view that preferences should be extended to producers of goods unique in Russia, and those making products going for export and yielding at least 15% of retu

Source : TASS