Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Russia will further bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, an official from the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) has said.
"Russia sees China as an important trade partner. This is not only because of their bilateral trade volume, which shows China is the top trade partner of Russia, but also because of Russia's interest in diversifying its trade flows," CCI Vice President Georgy Petrov told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Li is expected to arrive in Moscow on Thursday afternoon for an official visit.
The CCI, a nongovernmental and non-profit organization that represents major Russian entrepreneurs, attaches great importance to the visit, Petrov said, adding that Russia's trade diversification drive covers two aspects.
"The first aspect involves geographical diversification, as the biggest part of Russia's trade flows to western Europe," Petrov explained.
"Naturally, one cannot rely on one direction only. So, it is important for us to render our foreign trade multidimensional," he said.
And the second aspect concerns the structure of Russia's exports, Petrov said, admitting that Russia's exports have been dominated by raw materials.
"But every country is interested in exporting more high-processed goods," he said.
That's why the CCI is interested in Li's visit to Russia, as the vice premier is expected to attend a meeting on bilateral trade and investment, of which the CCI is a co-organizer, Petrov added.
"The meeting would further facilitate Russia to reach the goals I mentioned," he said, adding that some 800 business representatives from both countries are expected to attend the meeting.p Referring to the trade volume between Russia and China, Petrov is optimistic about the goals set by both Chinese and Russian leaders for bilateral trade -- to reach 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 and 200 billion dollars in 2020.
"If we consider our trade volume in recent years, these aims are quite realistic," he said.
In 2011, bilateral trade volume reached about 80 billion dollars, a record high with a 42.7 percent year-on-year rise.
Petrov also talked about the global financial crisis, which smashed the Russian economy and plunged the country into its worst recession in decades, with GDP shrinking 7.9 percent in 2009.
"Russia's economy and trade also fell sharply, especially the country's exports," Petrov said, "but our supplies to China were not affected."
Figures on China's development were in a "green zone" during the global financial crisis, as the country's GDP and industrial output maintained a growing momentum, Petrov said.
"China's development is impressive. We have to learn much from our Chinese friends. The Chinese experience is unique and demonstrates that economy could be successfully developed in a Chinese way," he said.
He also mentioned Russian Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin's order to develop the regions of Far East and Eastern Siberia, which are near or even border the Chinese territory.
Russia's plan would absolutely facilitate the two countries' regional and cross-border cooperation, Petrov said.