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Liberalization of Russian Foreign Trade: Problems and Prospects

Liberalization of Russian Foreign Trade: Problems and Prospects

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It is almost two years since the publication of Oleg Davydov's significant study Inside Out: The Radical Transformation of Russian Foreign Trade, 1992-1997, and a lot has changed since then, including the August 1998 financial and banking crisis in Russia. Nevertheless, the views Davydov expressed in that book are still relevant, and many of the recommendations he made have been implemented, to good effect.

This book, Liberalization of Russian Foreign Trade, takes up where the first left off. Here, Davydov teams up with Valeriy A. Oreshkin, and they systematize and explain the issues related to the formation of Russia's foreign trade policy.

The transition from centrally planned economy to market economy has been difficult. The largest problem, of course, has been integrating Russia into the world economic community and learning how to do business with foreign counterparts and competitors. Another problem, of potentially overwhelming proportions, is the issue of Russia's foreign debts, and the authors investigate how the country might modernize its infrastructure and invest in its future despite the enormous foreign-debt repayments. Part of the solution, the authors believe, will come from foreign investments, yet Russian businesspeople must continue to convince foreign investors that investing in Russia is a good risk. However, given the rise of criminal activities in the foreign-trade arena, foreign investors are understandably hesitant.

In the forseeable future, the creation of internal and external conditions for a more complete integration of Russia into the world economy will remain a top priority. But the key milestones to that greater goal are already in flux. In an objective and informed way, this book provides the best explanation available of how those milestones have changed, and how such changes may affect the future development of a competitive Russian economy.