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    RUSSIA'S SHARE IN WORLD TRADE REACHES 1.8%

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    MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - In 2003, Russia's share in world trade increased to 1.8%. A statement to this effect was made by German Gref, acting economic development and trade minister, at a nationwide conference of heads of foreign trade agencies in the Russian Federation's constituent members.

    To quote Mr. Gref, "in 2003, Russia's share in world trade increased from 1.63% (in 2002) to 1.8%." In his words, at present Russia's share in world GDP parity exceeds that of India or China being at the level of some industrialized countries.

    German Gref recalled that, by preliminary estimate, Russia's foreign trade amounted to $210.8 billion in 2003, showing a 25% increase from the last year's level. Meanwhile, trade with foreign countries (except former Soviet republics) amounted to $174 billion last year. In Gref's words, the balance of trade was favorable, with export surplus amounting to $60 billion. He also pointed out that foreign countries accounted for 82.5% of Russia's foreign trade, and CIS countries - for 17.5%. Last year, Russia's main trading partners were Germany, Italy, China and the United States.

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