During an online forum conducted with netizens at www.xinhuanet.com on August 7 in Beijing, Vice Minister of Commerce Yu Guangzhou said that China and Russia have a promising future in terms of economic cooperation.
As two of the world's fastest emerging economies, both China and Russia enjoy continuing economic development, a rapid growth in their consumer bases and in terms of investment demand, enabling them to create a broad platform from which to approach bilateral trade issues such as commodities, natural resources, technology and capital.
Mutual understanding and complementarity exist between the two nations in terms of respective industries, of their large market capacity, of their improved cooperation mechanics, and of the strong legal foundations for their economic ties. Coupled with the furthering of progress in terms of investment, trade and the environment, Sino-Russian economic ties rest on four strong sectors:
Firstly, China and Russia will maintain the current trade scale on energy, resources, textiles and daily necessities while ramping up the quality of commodities. Both sides will increase percentages on mechanical and electrical products through the enlargement of export and import for home appliances, telecommunication, power station and civil aviation equipment, vehicles and spare parts thereof as well as mining machinery.
Secondly, construction on Sino-Russian oil pipelines will be sped up and further joint oil and gas field exploration will be initiated, allowing further cooperation on downstream processing. Manufacturing cooperation will be carefully fostered in areas such as home appliances, electronics, construction, car assembly and agricultural products processing techniques. Cooperation will also be enhanced on mineral exploration, intensive timber processing and the furthering of infrastructure development.
Thirdly, high-tech ties on nuclear power, space flight, new materials, biochemicals and civil aviation will be deepened; bilateral cooperation will be strengthened in terms of research and development (R&D) and industrialization by establishing joint science and technology parks along with industrial bases.
Finally, further opportunities for cooperation will be created in a range of fields from banking, insurance, trade settlements and information gathering to labor services, transportation, tourism and education services.
According to Yu, China invested in 700 projects in Russia with a total contracted investment of US$1.34 billion in the first half of this year. He was confident that China's trade with Russia will reach its 2020 target of US$12 billion set by the Chinese government.
Russian enterprises in China now number 1,912 with a total contracted capital of US$1.52 billion and a total practical investment of US$570 million.
Forming one of the cornerstones of bilateral trade ties, China's oil imports from Russia might exceed 15 million tons in 2006, Yu expected. Last year, China imported 12.78 million tons of crude oil from Russia, accounting for 10.1 percent of total Chinese oil imports.
Yu added that China will be steadfast in its commitment to see Russia gain access to the WTO in multi-lateral situations and that Russia's early entry to the WTO would benefit both parties.
With 2006 being "The Year of Russia in China", 18 from a total of 40 economic and trade programs will be held in the second half of the year, including state-level activities such as the Russian National Exhibition and the Sino-Russian Investment Promotion Week.
(China.org.cn by Li Shen, August 11, 2006)