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Sino-Russian Trade to Exceed US$20 Billion

The trade volume between China and Russia in 2004 will to exceed US$20 billion, hitting the goal set by the two countries last year, experts predicted in Beijing.

"All indications show that bilateral trade has entered a new phase of rapid and full-swing development," said Lu Nanquan, deputy director of the Research Center for Russia with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The rapid economic growth of both countries is the accelerator to boost bilateral trade, he said. Therefore, the goal of raising the bilateral trade volume to US$60 billion set by the state leaders of the two countries has got a sound foundation.

Statistics from China Customs show that the trade volume between China and Russia jumped to US$15.76 billion in 2003 from US$5.72 billion in 1999 with an annual growth rate of 20 percent. The Sino-Russian import and export volume has reached US$12.87 billion in the first eight months this year, with an increase of 35.4 percent year-on-year, making China the fourth biggest trade partner of Russia.

"Russia is applying for accession into the World Trade Organization, which will eventually change the current trade order and mode between China and Russia," said Li Gang from the International Trade and Economic Cooperation Research Institute with the Ministry of Commerce.

Li said that cooperation between China and Russia in high-tech fields such as aviation, aerospace, bio-engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical technology, agriculture and forestry will be conducive to overcoming the current singularity and vulnerability of bilateral trade.

In addition to trade on regular commodities, bigger projects, such as building a cross-boarder oil pipeline, should be introduced to give more incentive to bilateral trade, said Liu Huaqin, official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

During his visit to Russia in September, Premier Wen Jiabao said that China planned to invest US$12 billion in Russia by 2020, focusing on infrastructure construction, energy sources and resources development, manufacturing and processing and high-tech fields.

(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2004)

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