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    US STATE SECRETARY TO MEET DUMA SPEAKER, BUSINESSMEN AND STUDENTS

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    MOSCOW, January 27, 2004 (RIA Novosti) -- On Tuesday, January 27th, US Secretary of State Colin Powell who is staying in Moscow for a working visit will meet Speaker of the State Duma (lower chamber) Boris Gryzlov.

    The sides will highlight the two countries' co-operation and the prospect of broadening parliamentary relations.

    Powell's meeting with business representatives is also scheduled for Tuesday. Members of the Russian-US Dialogue council and of the Russian Industrialists' and Entrepreneurs' Union will attend the meeting. Promotion of trade-and-economic and investment co-operation between the two countries will be under discussion.

    The United States is currently Russia's third partner after Germany and Italy in the size of foreign trade, while Russia, according to the data for 2002, ranks only 29th in the US foreign trade. Besides, Russian business is interested in broader co-operation. According to Russian businessmen, their interaction with American partners can quite well go beyond export of raw material resources to the United States.

    Russian companies have lately shown interest in investing in the United States. The idea is, in particular, to ensure participation of large Russian companies in purchasing a network of petrol stations on US territory, and acquisition of a steel-making company in the United States by a large Russian holding. Colin Powell and Russian businessmen will discuss on Tuesday the conditions for developing the two countries' investment co-operation, and how the governments of Russia and the USA can help their businessmen.

    Later in the day the US Secretary of State will meet participants of the Russian-US youth exchanges. On Tuesday afternoon Powell will leave the Russian capital.

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