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    FINANCE MINISTER DISCUSSES FUTURE OF RUSSIA'S ECONOMY IN DAVOS

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    DAVOS, Switzerland, January 23, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin presented Russia's economic development prospects for the next four years in Davos on Thursday evening.

    Mr. Kudrin took part in the special closed session at which potential economic and political developments in Russia were discussed.

    "I devoted 90% of my speech to the country's new tasks, primarily in the sphere of liberalization of currency regulation which will come into force in the middle of this year," Mr. Kudrin told RIA Novosti after the session.

    Another priority, according Mr. Kudrin, is Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2004.

    "Of course, I also spoke about the recent steps in tax reform and about the new bills concerning reducing taxes in the next two years," said the deputy prime minister.

    The session participants also touched on a number of questions connected with the development of the Russian financial system and increasing the transparency of Russian business.

    President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Jean Lemierre, Head of the Foreign Economic Committee of the Federation Council (Upper House of Russian Parliament) Mikhail Margelov, Head of the Russian Council for Foreign and Defense Policy Sergei Karaganov, Russian presidential candidate Irina Khakamada and the former U.S. President Bill Clinton Adviser Strobe Talbott also spoke at the session.

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