Russian official calls for 25% duty on GPS devices
RYAZAN, Russia, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Tuesday an import duty of up to 25 percent on GPS navigation equipment could be in place from Jan 1, 2011 as Russia seeks to promote its rival GLONASS system.
"It is time to introduce if not prohibitive then at least some import duties on GPS equipment," Ivanov told a government meeting in Ryazan in central Russia.
However, the official said there would be no ban on devices working with the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), though Russia had threatened to do so last month.
Russia, as well as other emerging countries like India, is keen to develop GLONASS to lessen dependence on the U.S. controlled satellite navigation system.
In order to promote its system, imports using GLONASS will remain duty-free.
"If GLONASS-GPS equipment is imported than the duty will remain at zero level," Ivanov said. "This way we will stimulate not only domestic but also foreign producers (to manufacture GLONASS equipment)."
Ivanov also said that the introduction of GLONASS-based equipment on new cars sold in Russia would only apply to public sector vehicles.
Earlier on Tuesday Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had said all new cars sold in Russia from 2012 could have the GLONASS system installed.
Putin also said Russia would launch six more navigation satellites by the end of the year, bringing its total to 24-28, enough to ensure uninterrupted service. He also said that no more than 10 percent of Russian public transportation vehicles use navigation systems, and that GLONASS-enabled devices presently account for only 5 percent of the nation's overall satellite navigation market.