China and Russia signed import and export contracts worth US$2.49 billion at the 15th China Harbin Fair for Trade and Economic Cooperation (CHTF), which ended on Saturday in the capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
The Russian deals account for three-quarters (74.8 percent) of the total contracts signed at this year's fair.
Border trade plays an important role in the economy of this utmost northern province of China, which shares a 3,000-kilometre border with Russia.
The provincial government established a Russian Exhibition Hall for Russian businessmen at this year's fair. It also took the unprecedented step of holding a China-Russia forum and meetings for Chinese and Russian traders.
"Heilongjiang has always given priority to trade with Russia in its co-operation with foreign countries," Wang Limin, vice-governor of the province, told China Daily. "We are determined to increase trade co-operation with Russia this year."
The province contributes one-fifth of the total trade volume between China and Russia. The figure is expected to soar this year.
As a chief trade partner of Heilongjiang Province, Russia has responded positively to movement by its neighbour.
"China's efforts to reform the industrial base in the northeast region are essentially changing the regional supply and demand policies, and opening new opportunities for Russia's bilateral trade with China," Konstantin Pulikovsky, the presidential envoy to the Far East of Russia, said. "Heilongjiang Province is an important base for China's commodity grain, energy, equipment and petrochemical industries. We are willing to co-operate with our neighbour in every aspect to achieve mutual prosperity."
Headed by Pulikovsky, a Russian delegation of more than 400 people took part in the five-day fair in Harbin. Russia displayed not only export products but also investment projects at the fair.
(China Daily June 21, 2004)