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Minister speaks of new concept of Russia in the West

DAVOS/MOSCOW. Jan 28 (Interfax) - Head of the Russian delegation to Davos German Gref has spoken of the new picture of Russia Western countries have. He was commenting on the results of Russian participation in the economic forum in Davos for Interfax Monday night.

The Russian economics minister had taken part in the discussion of the business climate in Russia with involved European and American big business representatives. Gref spoke of the reform of licensing in Russia and the tax reform. For instance, the reduction of the personal income tax from 35% to 13% in 2001 raised tax collection 40% in 2001 and by the same amount in 2002.

Gref also reported other plans of the government, for instance, pending changes in the system of certification and the adoption of a new Customs Code "that will be less bureaucratic and will simplify the border crossing of certain foreign commodities."

In his opinion, Russia's law on currency regulation and currency control will the most liberal of its kind in Europe.

Gref also spoke for significantly reducing government regulation of the economy. Russia should shortly approve a three-year privatization program "the purpose of which is to rid the state of ineffective property," he said.

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