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    GREF URGES INVESTMENTS IN DEVELOPMENT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY

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    MOSCOW, April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - German Gref, Russia's minister of economic development and trade, called for investments in the development of new technology.

    " If we do not want to lag behind other countries, we should invest more and more in the development of the innovation infrastructure," he said at a conference on competition and modernization of the Russian economy.

    "Otherwise, we will be allotted the role of the world economy's largest assembly shop," the minister continued. "Such an approach does not suit us. Russia should become not only the hands but first of all, the brains of the world economy."

    While 250 years ago agriculture accounted for 50% of the world economy, now it accounts for a mere 2-2.5%. Commodity production accounts for more than a half of the world economy. The share of services and innovative technologies is steadily growing. In 200-250 years the share of the industrial sector will be the same as the agriculture sector now and fewer people will be engaged in industry than they are now, explained Mr. Gref.

    According to him, the Ministry of Industry and Energy, the Ministry of Science and Education and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade will be engaged with the development of innovation infrastructure. "The three ministers will not get away from this," Mr. Gref concluded.

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