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Sino-Russian Border Trade Recovers
The stagnant Sino-Russian border trade is becoming vibrant again as the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China has been successfully controlled.

Meng Lin, a foreign trade official of Heilongjiang Province on the border, said limitations on the five trade ports of Heihe, Suifenhe, Dongning, Fuyuan and Raohe have been eased by Russia since late May, and trans-border trade and passenger traffic have returned to normal.

Earlier this month, delegations sent by Heilongjiang Guomai Telecommunication Group and Heilongjiang Huacheng International Company (HHIC) gained the approval to enter Russia's Chita Region (Chitinskaya Obl.) through Manzhouli, in preparation for establishing a mobile telecommunications company with a budget investment of 50 million yuan (US$6.04 million).

On June 21, another business delegation sent by HHIC and China Northwest Mining Corporation went to Chita Region to discuss the joint exploitation of a large copper mine. The project is expected to cost 5 five billion yuan (US$604 million).

To enliven a suspended 50-million-yuan forestry project, business representatives from Heilongjiang Power Investment Company and an Indonesian company plan to go to Khabarovsk in Russia this weekend.

Meng Lin said a business delegation of 15 Heilongjiang construction enterprises would also tour inspection tour of Chita, Irkutsk, Moscow and other places of Russia for a business inspection.

As the World Health Organization has removed Beijing from its list of SARS-infected areas and lifted its travel advisory on the city, Meng believed the China Community Exposition scheduled for September in Moscow will go ahead as planned.

Soon a work team will leave for Moscow to make preparations for the big event initiated by the provincial government, he said.

Being the largest trade port between China and Russia, Heilongjiang Province raked in some 2.3 billion US dollars last year from its trans-border business, about one-fifth of the country's total Sino-Russia trade volume.

The province sets a growth rate of 20 percent and aims to push trade with Russia to 2.8 billion US dollars this year.

While the outbreak of SARS was rampant in China, Russia closed down 10 ports on the border it shares with China, causing a drastic decline in trans-border trade in Heilongjiang since April.

(Xinhua News Agency June 30, 2003)

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