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    RUSSIAN CABINET IS SET TO PRESERVE HIGH FOREIGN INVESTMENT RATE

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    MOSCOW, January 29, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Cabinet believes it will hopefully preserve the high rate of foreign investment in the economy in the years to come, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin said when opening an international conference of European customs chiefs on Thursday.

    Mr Kudrin said in 2003, direct investment in Russian enterprises' fixed assets made up $72 billion, $6.5 billion of which was foreign investments. Although foreign investments make only a tiny part of overall investments, they went up 62% last year, "and we will hopefully preserve this rather high foreign investment rate," said Mr Kudrin.

    Russia's GDP grew 7% last year, recalled the deputy prime minister. "We are intent on retaining the current economic growth rate, which will help improve people's wellbeing," he emphasised.

    Moreover, the Cabinet is set to continue ensuring a sustainable budget surplus in the next few years, said Mr Kudrin.

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