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    MOSCOW, January 27, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign trade in 2003 went up by nearly a quarter and amounted to 209 billion dollars. These data appeared on the official web site of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade on Tuesday.

    Russia's trade with foreign countries, excluding the CIS, in 2003 grew up by 23.7 percent and amounted to 172.9 billion dollars.

    "The favourable balance of trade was 53.7 billion dollars, with exports topping the imports by 1.9 times," says the ministry's report.

    Russia's exports to the non-CIS countries was at the level of 113.3 billion dollars, 24.6 percent more than in 2002. The growth in exports was connected with key commodities markets for Russia, above all with the energy sources market.

    Russia's trade with the CIS countries in January-November 2003 exceeded 30 billion dollars and went up by nearly 30 percent in comparison with the same period in the previous year. The favourable balance of trade increased by 1.3 times and amounted to 6.3 billion dollars.

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