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Machine tool manufacturers making inroads in Russia
TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese machine tool manufacturers are making further inroads in Russia, after Tokyo agreed to offer economic support to Moscow at a bilateral summit last month.

Russia is trying to boost domestic production of industrial and other goods to reduce its dependency on imports. Western economic sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis and the depreciation of the ruble, Russia’s currency, are making imports more difficult for Russia.

Machine tools are key to domestic production. The Russian side is pinning high hopes on Japanese machine tool makers, which have advanced technologies.

The eight-point economic cooperation plan, confirmed at the Dec. 16 meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tokyo, included many deals related to the machine tool industry.

At a Japan-Russia business conference, held also in Tokyo on Dec. 16, on the sidelines of the bilateral summit, Putin showed his determination to promote domestic production, saying that it is necessary to change the current bilateral trade structure in which Russia exports materials to Japan and imports automobiles and machines in return.

A Japanese machine tool industry official described Russia as “a vast blank map” as the country is lagging in modernizing production facilities.

To foster domestic manufacturers, Russia is shutting out foreign companies from government procurement orders in certain sectors. Still, foreign firms are allowed to take part in bidding for such orders and receive tax incentives in Russia if they sign special investment pacts with the Russian side and launch local production.Speech