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Biggest Show to Beef up Economic Ties
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China hosts its largest-ever exhibition China National Exhibition in a foreign land this week with nearly 200 large companies showcasing state-of-art products in the Russian capital to add economic substance to burgeoning political relations.


The exhibition is part of the "Year of China" in Russia, which features 200 cultural, tourism and business events.


President Hu Jintao, who arrives in Moscow for a three-day state visit today, will attend the opening ceremony of "Year of China" the same day and the national exhibition tomorrow. He will oversee the signing of up to US$4 billion in deals during the visit.


The items on show at the exhibition cover almost all aspects of China's economic achievements in the past decades, ranging from aerospace technology to traditional products such as tea and silk.


The exhibition is a concrete step toward achieving the goal set by Hu and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for bilateral trade to reach US$60-80 billion by 2010, according to Vice Commerce Minister Yu Guangzhou. Bilateral trade volume reached US$33.4 billion last year, up 14.7 percent over the previous year.


"We are quite optimistic about the Russian market and plan to put it high on the agenda of our overseas development strategy," said Zhu Hongying, a manager with Aigo, a brand affiliated to IT giant Beijing Huaqi Information Digital Technology Co Ltd.


The company has set up a pavilion in the exhibition to display its products like MP4 players, digital cameras and digital data storage devices.


Based on its sales network and competitive prices, Zhu said the company forecast a sales increase of up to 20 percent in the Russian market.


Alexy Davidovich Reznikov, who is an agent for Chinese trucks and cars such as those from Dongfeng and Hafei, considers the exhibition a good platform for Russians to know Chinese products better.


"It is expected to have a far-reaching influence on the Russian market and we hope to have more such exchanges," he said.


Since Beijing and Moscow resolved their last major political issue in 2004 when they signed an agreement over the 4,300-km border, the two countries do not have big political obstacles hindering economic and trade cooperation, according to Xu Tao, deputy director of the Institute of Russian Studies affiliated to the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.


The national year activities are not just routine cultural events; they let peoples from the two countries know each other better, according to Xu.


"Only when people truly understand each other's culture will they be able to dispel doubts and enmity," he noted.


Russian Ambassador to China Sergei Razov said earlier that the purpose of holding the national years in China and Russia is to deepen mutual understanding of the domestic situation and people's lives.


Besides the economic partnership, Hu will also hold talks with Putin today on international matters such as nuclear issues concerning Iran and North Korea, and counter-terrorism. They will issue a joint statement after their summit.


(China Daily March 26, 2007)

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