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A quiet battle over money is going on between Soviet officials and Western businessmen. Apparently looking for added hard currency, the Kremlin reportedly is moving to levy a tax of as much as 40 percent on foreign companies' earnings.

The hosts also want their local workers paid by having the foreign firms transfer hard currency to the government, which would then disburse the money in rubles. Some foreign companies are suspected of paying employees in rubles illegally exchanged at soft rates outside the country. Some firms apparently have already complied with this provision.

The Soviets apparently are listening to US arguments that a 197 3 treaty exempts most American business operations from the new levy, however.m

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