Great potential for trade, investment

By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-03-26 06:52

China and Russia see great potential in trade and investment with the former developing its northeastern regions and the latter setting up special economic zones (SEZs), according to a senior Chinese trade official.

"I believe the SEZs will play an important role in Russia optimizing its investment environment and attracting foreign capital," said Yu Guangzhou, vice-commerce minister.

"And it will also create new opportunities for Sino-Russian collaboration in economy and trade."

Learning from the experience of China, Russia plans to set up "one-stop" clearance windows in the SEZs which "will create good opportunities for Chinese businesses' investment", Yu said.

He added the first Chinese-invested project in a Russian SEZ is progressing smoothly.

China, which has 28 years of experience in the development of SEZs, is collaborating with the Russian government in the building of infrastructure in the zones, with Chinese investment and knowhow.

The vice-minister also expects China's blueprint for developing the northeast to help boost bilateral economic and trade exchanges as the region shares a long border with Russia.

Double-digit growth has been registered in two-way trade for eight years in a row since 1999, according to official figures. Trade volume hit a record $33.4 billion in 2006, up 15 percent from the previous year.

Joint-venture projects have been launched in such industries as resources exploitation, timber, household electrical appliances, communications, building materials and, more recently, in the energy and high-tech sectors.

The two governments are moving forward to restructure two-way trade. Machinery and electronic products account for a relatively small part of bilateral trade, especially among Russian exports.

Yu said China is working on a host of measures to encourage Chinese companies to sell more machinery and electronic products to Russia and help its firms promote their products in the Chinese market.

Konstantin Vnukov, director of the Asian department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, said "the issue of improving the trade structure is on the agenda" as Russia delivers mainly resources to China now.

(China Daily 03/26/2007 page2)

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