Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 139

Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and U.S. vice president Al Gore concluded the seventh meeting of their jointly chaired bilateral commission yesterday on an up note, predicting a surge of U.S. investment into the Russian economy and announcing the signing of 27 documents. "We are on the verge of a new period of history in which investment capital flows into Russia in very large quantities," Gore told reporters following the meeting. He added that the U.S. government was supporting "billions of dollars" worth of investment in Russia through the Overseas Investment Corporation and the Export-Import Bank, and was also working to remove regulatory obstacles to increased Russian-U.S. trade. He also said that the Clinton administration hoped to abolish Jackson-Vanik restrictions on bilateral trade, but cautioned that the U.S. Congress was currently unlikely to go along with such a policy. Gore was accompanied to Moscow by eight U.S. cabinet members.

Chernomyrdin observed that the U.S. now leads the world in volume of direct investment in Russia, which he said totals some $2.5 billion and constitutes nearly a third of all foreign investment in Russia. In the first part of 1996 U.S. investors poured $360 million into Russia, Chernomyrdin said, or 41 percent of all foreign investment. Chernomyrdin hailed the talks for promoting cooperation in the fields of high technology, power engineering, and space exploration. Progress was also apparently made toward completing a complex deal by which Aeroflot would purchase 20 new Ilyushin IL-96 airliners, to be equipped with engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney and electronic components by Rockwell international. But an oil joint-venture deal expected to be signed was said to have fallen through because of a disagreement over terms. (UPI, Itar-Tass, RTR, July 16) In what were apparently separate talks between Gore and Chernomyrdin, the two sides were said to have made progress on a draft cooperative agreement dealing with destruction of Russia’s chemical weapon arsenal. (Interfax, July 16)

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