MOSCOW, May 23 (RIA Novosti) - To see Russia its tough competitor in the space rocket market is the last thing Ukraine wants. On the contrary, it looks forward to an ever-closer partnership, said Anatoly Kinakh, Ukraine's First Deputy Prime Minister, while receiving Russian industrialist and entrepreneurial spokesmen.

"We want to see Russia our reliable partner in that field," he said.

Kinakh called on Russia and his own country to step up aerospace team efforts, and highlighted a practical example -- a space center Russians and Ukrainians were jointly building in Brazil.

As he went on, the Vice-Premier pointed out a governmental resolution to integrate Ukrainian aircraft industry. An initial reform stage envisages R&D efforts and technological and industrial resources all pooled in, eventually to go on to transnational integration -- in particular, with Russia.

"The matter concerns sales markets. We have to join efforts if we are to have a firm position there," Kinakh underlined.

He came over next to another industrial field to refer to prospects for another bilateral agreement on Russia to import Ukrainian pipes. Ukrainian ministries and other involved central offices are considering the chances for it.

A previous Russian-Ukrainian understanding on that score expired December 31, 2004.

"I shall do all I can to bring closer the day we sign the new agreement -- we [Ukrainians] are interested in it no less than Russia is," he promised.

Meanwhile, Russia's Pipe-Making Industry Development Foundation, or FRTP, insists on protectionist steps to be made as soon as possible. These imply provisional import duties on Ukrainian-manufactured large-diameter pipes-of 508 millimeters to 1,420.

Russian manufacturers reduced steel pipe production and shipment by 9 per cent, January-February, as against the same months 2004. Coming hand in hand with this industrial depression is a spectacular increase of respective imports from Ukraine. The Khartsyzsk pipe-rolling works raised its exports to Russia by 17 per cent, January through February, while imports from the Niko Tube works skyrocketed by 49 per cent, say FRTP statistics. The trend persists for other Ukrainian-based industrial majors, too.

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