RUSSIA READY TO DISCUSS CUT IN ALUMINUM OUTPUT

RUSSIA READY TO DISCUSS CUT IN ALUMINUM OUTPUT

The Russian aluminum industry is prepared to negotiate cuts in production with Western producers, but won't accept any measures that would be ''detrimental to Russia's industry," said Igor Prokopov, president of Concern Alumini, a trade group for Commonwealth of Independent States' primary aluminum producers.

Speaking at a Belgian Federation of Non-Ferrous Metals conference, Mr. Prokopov said: "The international market must regulate the output of metal, but producers on all sides will have to cut back. This must be done on a mutual basis."Of the forthcoming multilateral aluminum talks scheduled to take place Dec. 1-2 in Washington, he said: "I can say quite categorically that Russian producers are prepared to take part in these negotiations, but we won't agree to any attempt by Western producers to try to resolve their own problems to the detriment of Russia. The poor state of the international aluminum market is everyone's fault not just Eastern Europe's."

"The aluminum market can be improved, but only on the condition that all sides make cuts totaling 1.5 million metric tons," Mr. Prokopov said.

"We are happy to sit around the negotiating table and try together to find concrete measures based on mutual understanding," he added.

Mr. Prokopov also rejected statements laming Russia for the current overcapacity in world aluminum output.

"It should be noted that over the past 10 years Western producers have increased output by 4.3 million tons, whereas in Russia our total production has only risen by 200,000 tons over the same period."

Mr. Prokopov said the Russian industry needed money and time to resolve its problems.

He expected some aid to come from the Russian state as well as foreign investment, but added: "First and foremost the Russian plants themselves should try and finance the necessary modernization work.

We think our industry is a priority for the country's economic recovery, and we realize that we will have to close certain plants and rebuild them completely."

"We must change our production structures to meet the changing demand in the domestic market and western quality standards," he added.

In particular, the increase in demand for new aluminum products in the commonwealth was a major challenge for its producers.

Aluminum for use in the packaging industry was set to rise requiring an extra 250,000 metric tons a year of primary output, while demand for aluminum components for the automotive industry was also set to rise, he said.

Russian cars use 20 kilograms (44.44 pounds) of aluminum, compared with 90 kilograms (200 pounds) in the United States.

Thus an increase of primary output of 200,000 metric tons a year could be expected in the near future to meet demand from this sector, Mr. Prokopov said.