Russian commodities a hit in Northeast China
Liu Ruiguo is ladling flour into a sack in a grocery store in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin province.
"I often buy Russian flour," Liu said, surrounded by a cornucopia of Russian commodities. "The noodles and dumplings made with it have a better texture."
In northeast China, Russian imports have been all the rage, since a freight train connected the region with Europe last year.
The Changchun-Manzhouli-Europe International Rail Freight Line has transported cargo worth more than 35 million euros since August, and in return the trains have brought novel, cheap goods like vodka, tiramisu and wild Siberian honey.
In a Russian store in Changchun a bottle of vodka costs only 45 yuan ($6.9), while tiramisu made five days ago costs only 30 yuan. Some items like flour are even cheaper than their Chinese counterparts.
On Thursday, a Russian company set up shop in a bonded zone in Changchun. The company, wholly Russian owned, mainly imports chocolate, candy and honey from Russia, while purchasing Chinese agricultural products for export.
The Chinese government is encouraging this kind of trade in the region, having recently approved a bonded zone in Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia. Covering more than 3 square km in Xiangfang district of provincial capital Harbin, the zone is designed for customs clearance, bonded processing, bonded logistics and trade services, said an official with Harbin Business Bureau on Thursday.
"The zone will be good for economic cooperation and trade with Russia, and particularly in machinery, biomedicine and food," said the official.