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Russia's light industry held back by illegal imports - ministry

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MOSCOW, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - Un-declared imports and clandestine production accounted for about 70% of Russia's light industry market in 2005, the Industry and Energy Ministry said in a report to the government Thursday.

"Experts estimate counterfeit and smuggled light industrial goods on the Russian market at about 780 billion rubles ($29 bln) in 2005," the report said, adding that this was more than double the level of legal production and imports.

The ministry forecasts that Russia's light industrial market will grow by 170% over the next two years, from 1.2 trillion rubles ($44.3 bln) in 2005 to 3.4 trln rubles ($125.5 bln) by the end of 2007.

The ministry said urgent measures were needed to gain control over the growing market, including four new technical regulations, and incentives for legally operating small business in the sector.

The current law on technical regulations, which has been in force since July 1, 2003, represents the legislative base for manufacturers, and outlines a seven-year (2003-2010) transition period during which Russia should develop clear technical requirements for the manufacture, storage, transportation, sale, installation, and use of products.

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