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Sino-Russian trade to pick up a gear
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-20 00:22

China and Russia will accelerate bilateral economic and trade co-operation with the aim of boosting strategic co-operation, it was agreed Monday.

The consensus was reached by officials and experts from both nations who were attending the Ninth Seminar on Sino-Russian Regional Co-operation in Beijing.

Sino-Russian trade relations have picked up in recent years and regional synergy has diversified, said Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui.

For example, the bilateral trade volume reached a record high of US$15.76 billion last year.

Li attributed the fruitful co-operation to the many advantages that the two countries possess, such as their geographical locations and strong desire for accord.

Sergei Tsyplakov, Russia's trade representative to China, said the bilateral trade volume and regional co-operative fields -- especially border trade -- have continued to grow.

The old bilateral co-operation model used to limit exchanges between Russia and China's northeast, he said. Nowadays, other provinces and cities in China, such as Shandong, Guangdong and Sichuan provinces and Shanghai, have set up links with Russia.

Tsyplakov said bilateral relations will further develop as long as high-level exchanges are maintained and co-operation between large enterprises is strengthened.

China and Russia share a border that stretches for more than 4,300 kilometers, creating a plethora of trade possibilities. Russia is China's 8th biggest trade partner and China is Russia's 4th largest partner.

Meanwhile, Russia's proportion in China's total foreign trade volume has been declining. In 2003 the proportion was 1.9 per cent -- lower than 1990's 3.7 per cent.

When revealing the reasons for the drop, Li Jianmin, a researcher on Russian issues, said the Sino-Russian trade structure was very simple as it was mainly composed of raw products, with high-tech and high value-added products making up a very small proportion. Also, there are not enough large-scale co-operative investment projects between the neighbours.

Moreover, several bilateral trade bottlenecks exist, she said.

But despite the problems, Li said it was clear that the countries were complementary, as long as their economies continued to grow.

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