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Moscow market: Chinese traders get some help
By Wang Linyan (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-07-27 09:22

China and Russia reached a broad consensus to deal with the sudden closure of a Moscow market from where thousands of Chinese traders operated, Vice-Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said on Saturday.

Nearly 60,000 Chinese operated out of the Cherkizovsky Market, according to the Russian Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Local authorities cited smuggling and safety concerns on June 29 when they shut down the 200-hectare premise, said to be Eastern Europe's biggest daily wholesale market.

The closure has resulted in a loss of about 40 billion yuan (about $5.85 billion) for about 50,000 companies in China, the Beijing Times reported.

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Gao, leading a team of ministry and trade officials, reached Moscow last week to hold negotiations with relevant Russian authorities.

"Both sides agreed to handle the closure of the market through friendly negotiations and agreed that the closure should not hurt their economic ties," said Gao after Saturday's talks.

He said that the Moscow city government had set up an emergency headquarter to help Chinese traders transfer their goods out of the market. The city will provide Chinese traders necessary assistance and legal aid concerning the placement of their goods and the setting up of a standardized market.

Gao also said that both sides would develop a plan to curb illegal activities, including "grey customs clearance".

Due to complicated clearance procedures, Russia's customs services allow "clearance companies" to help import goods. These firms often do not provide clearance paperwork, resulting in imports being labeled as smuggled goods.

Xinhua contributed to the story