16 Dec 2010 17:52

Putin calls on Russian pipe producers to review pricing policy

MOSCOW. Dec 16 (Interfax) - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called on domestic pipe producers to consider reducing prices in order to make product more competitive with imported pipe.

"Your manufacturers need to offer more than quality product. It must be offered at competitive prices," Putin said in response to a question from a worker at the Chelyabinsk Tube Rolling Plant (ChelPipe) about why Russia imports pipe.

"In the past the imports were because our pipe industry didn't make the products that were needed for a host of major infrastructure projects," Putin said, mentioning the Blue Stream and Nord Stream gas pipeline projects.

"The pipe had to be purchased in German and Japan. But now we have the ability to do away with imports. It's a question of price," he said.

Pipe imports in January-October 2010 rose 140% to 1.181 million tonnes, including 130% to 96,500 tonnes for imports from China and 60% to 464,700 tonnes for imports from Ukraine, according to the Federal Customs Service. The import duty on pipe is 15%-20%. Imports account for 15.2% of the domestic market.