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Business news, 01.12.2005 16:54

Toyota gets OK to build Russian car plant -source

toyota Russian local government officials gave Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research) permission to build a car plant in St Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, a local official told Reuters on Wednesday.

"This is the key document. Without it, planning and building works could not start. In fact the government gave the company a permission to build," a source in the local government investment committee told Reuters.

Earlier this year Toyota said initial investment in the 220-hectare plant would be around $140 million.

The plant is expected to create 500 new jobs and to begin producing 20,000 Toyota Camry sedan models a year from December 2007. Toyota said production would later expand to 50,000 cars a year.

Toyota, the world's second biggest auto maker, last year sold 47,000 cars in Russia out of total foreign automaker sales of 353,400.

Russia has set high customs duties on imported cars to protect its struggling domestic car industry, but foreign companies can reduce the tax burden by assembling the cars in Russia from imported components.

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