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November 19, 2002
  Contact: Heather Layman
Curt Cultice

(202) 482-3809

Bush Administration Official Talks Trade in Russia

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration Faryar Shirzad today concluded a three-day trip to Russia aimed at boosting trade between the U.S. and Russia.

In a press conference today with Russian Deputy Minister Medvedkov, Shirzad announced the signing of an amendment to the U.S.-Russia Comprehensive Agreement on Steel that allows steel producers to fully utilize the slab quota provided for under the United States 201 safeguard measure enacted by President Bush in March 2002 .

"I am happy to be here in Moscow to sign this agreement. For the past year, delegations from the United States and Russia have worked side by side to address the decades long problems that have plagued the global steel market. Russia has not only been a partner and advocate in supporting the U.S. proposal to eliminate worldwide government subsidization of the steel industry, but has demonstrated great leadership by putting forth a plan to reform its own domestic steel industry. I look forward to continuing our work together at the next OECD High Level meeting in December," said Shirzad.

Also this week, Shirzad initialed an amendment to the cut-to-length steel plate suspension agreement that will allow exports of steel plate to the U.S. beyond the current 5th year cut off. This amendment is the second agreement that the Bush Administration has initialed with Russian steel producers based on Russia's newly granted market economy status.

Effective April 1, 2002, the U.S. Department of Commerce granted Russia market economy status under U.S. trade laws. Yesterday, Shirzad hosted a trade law seminar for industry representatives and government officials designed to provide information to help Russian companies comply with U.S. laws and policies under the new market economy designation.

"With a better understanding of how our trade laws operate, and the pivotal role they play in the multilateral trading system, we hope to maximize the opportunity for trade between our two nations," said Shirzad.

Shirzad further stated, "Never before has Russia's commitment been greater to improving conditions for trade and investment. Russia has made great strides in deregulating industries and has created a new legal framework that encourages a market economy to thrive. I have no doubt that as Russia continues boldly on the path of political and economic reform trade and investment will rise to help lift the lives of the Russian people. We applaud Russia's progress, and remain committed to be partners with them in this endeavor."

The trade law seminar this week was the second seminar hosted in Moscow by the U.S. Department of Commerce since the market economy designation. It was attended by industry and government representatives, and covered such topics as U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty laws and calculation methods, as well as provided guidance on preparing responses to questionnaires generated during such proceedings.

While in Moscow, Shirzad met with key trade and economic ministers including Deputy Minister Maxim Medvedkov and MEDT Deputy Minister Sharonov as well as with Duma Deputies Sergey Generalov and Aleksey Likhachev.

As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration, Shirzad is responsible for administering the U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty laws. He is also responsible for working with the Office of the United States Trade Representative in consultations with the World Trade Organization and other international trade organizations regarding antidumping and countervailing duty laws. In addition, he leads negotiations to promote fair trade in specific sectors, such as steel; heads the Subsidies Enforcement Office; and serves as Secretary Evan's delegate on the Foreign Trade Zones Board. Shirzad was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 1, 2001.


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