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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke met with Russia's Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina on January 26th, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was their second meeting since the July 2009 Moscow Summit, and their first meeting as co-chairs of the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.
At the meeting, Secretary Locke and Minister Nabiullina concurred on a Memorandum of Understanding and discussed an action plan for the Working Group, which has a mandate to coordinate among government agencies to pursue ideas to expand U.S.-Russia trade and investment and improve the business environment.
U.S. goods exports to Russia totaled a record $9.3 billion in 2008. However, this trade, as well as Russia's exports to the United States, fell in 2009 as Russia's market was hard-hit by the global economic downturn.
While in Cambridge, Secretary Locke also headed a U.S. government delegation in a separate meeting with officials of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, and Russia's most-senior economic policy makers. The Russian delegation, led by first Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, was visiting MIT to discuss ways to spur commercialization of technology developed in Russia, and to study the U.S. experience on how universities, entrepreneurs, companies, and financiers collaborate in bringing innovations from the laboratory to the marketplace.
"There are many U.S. companies already operating in Russia that have a long track record of taking ideas from the lab and turning them into advanced products in the marketplace," said Secretary Locke. "With proper policies to support intellectual property rights and create and maintain an open market for world-class technologies," he said, "Russia has potential to be an even more significant partner for U.S. industry in the years ahead."