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Joint Statement of the US-Russian Joint Commission

Joint Statement of the US-Russian Joint Commission


Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 27, 1999


U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Sergey Stepashin held an executive session of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation in Washington today. The co-chairmen commended the work already accomplished since the Commission's creation in 1993 and reaffirmed its importance for ensuring the continued vitality of the U.S.-Russian relationship and encouraging practical cooperation of benefit to both countries.

Building on the results of the meeting between Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin in June 1999 in Cologne, the Vice President and the Chairman of the Government discussed how to advance our relations and mutual interests, deepen U.S.-Russian cooperation, and address common problems. They affirmed that it is in the interest of both the United States and Russia to reduce our nuclear arsenals, cooperate on international peace and security, enhance nonproliferation regimes, and promote trade, economic, and technological cooperation and open and competitive markets.

The co-chairmen reviewed progress in U.S.-Russian cooperation to promote investment and economic growth. They noted important reforms that have been enacted in areas such as fiscal policy, the banking sector, and exchange rate liberalization. These reforms, and the additional steps the Russian government plans to take to strengthen the investment climate, will help sustain recent positive developments, encourage Russia's private sector, and open new prospects for mutually beneficial trade.

The Vice President and the Chairman of the Government noted the recent agreement to increase the Russian quota for commercial space launches to geosynchronous orbit by 4 launches and to implement in the shortest possible time the necessary legal procedures regarding amending the existing international commercial space launch trade agreement with the establishment of a general quota of 20 commercial launches through 2000. The sides agreed to begin consultations in the fall of this year regarding questions of future cooperation in the sphere of international commercial space launch trade, including discussing new perspectives for the period after the existing agreement expires.

The Vice President and Chairman of the Government commended the U.S. and Russian civil space communities for the successful launching of the first two elements of the International Space Station. They look forward to the launch of the next element, the Russian Service Module, in late 1999.

The co-chairmen discussed the key issues of international security and arms control. They highlighted the Cologne commitments made by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin to begin discussions on START III and the ABM Treaty later this summer while at the same time pursuing the ratification of START II. The Vice President and Chairman of the Government reviewed the preparations for these discussions and agreed that they will start in Moscow in August 1999. They also agreed to accelerate work on implementing the agreement reached by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in September 1998 on exchange of information on missile launches and early warning.

The Vice President and Chairman of the Government reaffirmed the vital importance of joint additional efforts to prevent the transfer of sensitive materials and technology. They commended the achieved level of U.S.-Russian cooperation in the area of nonproliferation and export control and noted recent progress by the Russian government to strengthen the policy, legal, and institutional foundations of Russia's export control system. In this regard, the co-chairmen expressed their commitment to the implementation of the work plans set forth to strengthen export controls and prevent proliferation activities and pledged to continue working closely together to achieve this shared goal.

Looking toward the 21st Century and guided by agreements reached in June 1999 in Cologne by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin, the Vice President and the Chairman of the Government directed the Commission to intensify its efforts toward furthering a number of priorities, which include:

- Facilitation of further increases in bilateral trade and investment flows by encouraging a competitive market environment, providing better access to markets, removing remaining trade barriers, acting on early warning exchanges on potential trade issues, and creating market conditions conducive to new EXIM and OPIC financing of promising projects in Russia;

- Encouragement of small enterprise development in Russia under the aegis of the Commission's new Small Business Working Group;

- Development of strategies for Russian integration into the global economy, including joint work on WTO and OECD accession, and continuation of joint efforts to complete Russia's transition to a market economy. As part of this latter process, the sides will create under the aegis of the Commission's Business Development Committee a Working Group to facilitate achievement of this shared goal. The Russian side intends to submit a legal memorandum to the U.S. Department of Commerce to initiate a review process of Russia's market economy status within the context of U.S. anti-dumping law;

- Development of conditions conducive to expanding U.S. investment in the Russian economy, including the active use of production sharing agreements;

- Expansion of cooperative law enforcement and rule of law activities under the Commission's new Law Enforcement Working Group to combat corruption, money laundering, and other aspects of organized crime and to strengthen legal sector reform and rule of law for business in Russia;

- Broadening nuclear energy cooperation under the aegis of the Commission's new Nuclear Committee;

- Increased collaboration in addressing the Y2K problem;

- Expansion of cooperative public health projects and research to combat tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and other infectious diseases;

- Development of cooperative strategies to improve environmental protection; and

- Continued efforts to deepen military technical cooperation.

The Vice President and the Chairman of the Government are committed to use the Commission to achieve the goals set forth by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin to strengthen the U.S.-Russia relationship in ways that benefit both the American and Russian people. The co-chairmen will continue to adapt the Commission and its activities to meet emerging bilateral needs and reflect the increasingly interconnected nature of the international community and global economy.

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