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    BERLIN, 17 January, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Polotsky/. -$9.9 billion worth of foods and raw materials required for their production were imported into Russia in January-November 2003, a rise of 11 percent year on year.

    The above figures were released on Saturday by Russia's Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev who is taking part in the West-East international agrarian forum "World Trade - Prospects for the Expanded European Union and its New Neighbours" currently held in Berlin.

    At the same time, he said, Russia's exports of foods and agricultural raw materials grew by 23 percent year on year and reached $2.4 billion.

    Alexei Gordeyev reminded the audience that Russia had introduced quotas for imports of beef, pork and poultry in 2003 to protect domestic livestock and poultry sectors. "First and foremost, these measures were taken to counterbalance increased imports into Russia of farming products heavily subsidized by exporting countries," the Minister pointed out.

    Gordeyev clarified that "the subsidized exports made a depressive impact on prices for similar products manufactured by domestic producers, which hindered development of Russia's agricultural sector".

    "Of course, these measures are of a forced nature and we are currently taking appropriate steps to improve the mechanisms regulating agricultural trade," stressed the Russian Deputy Prime Minister.

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