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Ideal time to upgrade Sino-Russian economic bond

China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-11 07:36

Editor's note: The trade volume between China and Russia in the first half of this year was about $50 billion, and is poised to cross $100 billion in the whole of 2018, compared with $84 billion last year. What are the bright spots in Sino-Russian economic cooperation? And what are the prospects of increasing bilateral economic exchanges? Three experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

Need to make economic partnership strategic

Zhang Yao, deputy director of the Institute for International Strategic Studies, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies

China and Russia are ideally placed to upgrade their economic cooperation. Last year, bilateral trade reached $84 billion and, given the size of the two countries, they have huge potential to boost economic ties.

First, the two sides have many complementary traits in their trade and economic structure. China's demand for oil and gas has surged, and Russia could meet much of that demand. And better land connectivity can significantly lower the cost of trade and make it safer.

Also, China and Russia can learn from each other's experience. For example, as a leader in e-commerce, light industry and infrastructure development, China has much to offer Russia in these areas, while Russia can offer China valuable experience in aerospace, military and heavy industry.

Shifting from a planned economy to market economy, the two countries are in similar development stages with China's per capita GDP of nearly $9,000 being close to Russia's more than $10,000. This will make it easier for them to find win-win cooperation opportunities.

From the long-term perspective, deeper Sino-Russian cooperation would not only meet the two governments' requirements, but also boost their respective economic growth.

Yet, apart from trade, Beijing and Moscow also have to upgrade their cooperation in capital and large-scale projects, because it is hard to establish a solid economic partnership based only on trade. Only cooperation in capital and large-scale projects deepen overall cooperation, and prevent major economic conflicts, as is the case with the United States and the European Union.

So, it's time China and Russia elevated their economic cooperation to the strategic level. For that, however, the two governments have to devise a scientific strategy and development plan, which should be inclusive so as to enable other countries to take part in joint projects such as the "Polar Silk Road". This is important because cooperation based on exclusiveness is not only unsustainable but also could make other countries suspicious about the intentions of China and Russia, as well as China's commitment to the non-alignment policy.

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