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US Official on Russia Trade Mission

Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans is in Moscow for a five-day visit with a business delegation to help promote increased trade and cooperation between Russia and the United States. He and his group will meet with President Vladimir Putin.

The delegation will attend a special seminar focussing on doing business in Russia, and will meet with various Russian officials and business leaders.

Mr. Evans is accompanied by American business leaders from large corporations such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Conoco, and also from some smaller companies.

Russia's economic reform program is expected to be high on the agenda of Secretary Evans' meetings with political leaders.

Improving the climate for foreign investment is of special concern, although observers say this situation has already changed under President Putin. Since taking power last year, Mr. Putin has managed to pass, among other measures, tax reform laws.

Prior to leaving for Moscow, Secretary Evans said progress has been made in the reforms necessary for Russia to enter the World Trade Organization.

The Bush administration has placed a priority on boosting economic ties with Russia.

Various U-S business delegations have come to Moscow this year, including one in July, which included Secretary Evans as well as Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.