Premier insists GDP be doubled by 2010, minister says impossible

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MOSCOW, June 23 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian prime minister said today that efforts should be made to double the nation's GDP by 2010, but the economic minister replied this goal could not be achieved. "The mid-term program for the period till 2008 must be oriented to doubling GDP," Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said at a cabinet meeting. "This is impossible," Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref responded. "Then it should be done by 2010," Fradkov said. "This is also unrealistic," Gref said. The premier told Gref to look for new ways to ensure economic growth.  "Look for ways to ensure growth, (promote the development of( the meat industry, machine building, create jobs, and clarify the customs and tariff policy and tax policy for medium and small business," the premier said. He added that the government had no alternative.

Fradkov told Gref it was his ministry's responsibility to find ways to ensure growth and added other ministries would help it achieve the goal of doubling GDP. "We will tackle the problem together," said the premier.

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