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Today in Russian Business – June 8, 2009

At his speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, President Medvedev warned against over-optimism regarding the crisis, but also added that Russia has ‘overcome its problems more quickly than had perhaps been expected’.  The President also said an increase in state ownership will be unavoidable in certain parts of the economy.  Reuters suggests that ‘global multinationals were conspicuous by their absence from the stands this year’.  International business leaders have complained that bureaucracy and tax authorities are a major irritant in business matters in Russia.  U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is encouraging about Russia’s hopes to join the WTO this year, despite Russia’s ban on US pork.  For all of Medvedev’s insisting, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has said that the yuan is more likely to become the global reserve currency than the ruble.  Medvedev has urged grain producers to end market ‘imbalances’ and combat global hunger.  Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan are set to create a grain pool to be more competitive on the worldwide level.  The US has warned against the creation of such a cartel and has suggested if it goes ahead it could hinder Russian chances of joining the WTO.