China to invest US$12b in Russia
In a move to expand trade links with Russia, China plans to invest US$12 billion there.
Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday pledged to expand trade and strengthen co-operation on energy.
During their meeting on Friday, Wen said the two countries should use the Sino-Russian Good-Neighbourly Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation to forward bilateral relations.
In particular, Wen said the two countries should open their markets wider to each other, increase trade volume and improve the current trade structure.
He said the two sides should regulate trade through the early warning and consultation mechanisms on sensitive products and carefully handling bilateral trade problems.
Wen said China is willing to increase investment in Russia on the construction of infrastructure facilities, exploitation of oil and gas and the high technology co-operation.
In fact, Putin happily acknowledged a plan by China to invest US$12 billion in Russia before 2020.
Putin said the two countries should expand trade and strengthen collaboration in energy, while giving priority to co-operation in high technology, communication and transportation.
These views were shared by entrepreneurs from both sides during the first meeting of the Sino-Russian entrepreneurs' council in Beijing on Friday. Officials and entrepreneurs asked enterprises to work together and promote bilateral trade.
The council includes 35 Russian and 32 Chinese enterprises. It will offer consulting services to businesses in both countries, said Wan Jifei, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the group on enterprises and industrial co-operation of the Sino-Russian Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development.
The council will encourage its members to settle trade disputes through friendly consultation, mediation and arbitration, provide advice on economic co-operation to the two governments and support participation in fairs, exhibitions and symposiums, said Wan.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told the conference that Russia-China trade kept growing rapidly and the co-operation agreements signed during President Putin's current visit to China have set the direction of bilateral economic and trade development.
The establishment of the council will provide a new platform in this regard.
According to official Chinese statistics, bilateral trade volume reached nearly US$15.8 billion in 2003, up 32 per cent over the same period of 2002. The amount of this year is expected to reach US$20 billion.