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Today in Russian Business – Nov 18, 2009

A new trade agreement between Russia and the EU could examine whether trade barriers set up in response to the global crisis are damaging economic relations. The two bodies have launched a joint patent program to strengthen Russian intellectual property legislation and make the its systems more compatible with that of the EU. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been weighing in on Russian industry, attending the start of diesel engine production at a KamAz plant and touring engineering plants in the Moscow region, but failure of companies to build up inventories and tight credit led to a deepened industrial slump for Russia last month.  Despite the resignation of its Moscow head, US retailer Wal-Mart says it will not give up exploring investment opportunities in Russia.  Russian Railways is looking for new ways of making money, such as getting rid of subsidies and charging clients based on transport costs, rather than goods-value. Russia may have no choice but to accept a stronger ruble next year.