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Chinese delegation heads to Moscow for talks on smuggling probe
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16:39, July 22, 2009

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China's Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng left for Moscow Wednesday to discuss the case of 150 Chinese merchants seized in a crackdown on smuggling at a market in Moscow.

He was accompanied by a delegation comprising officials from the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs, the General Administration of Customs and trade officials from Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.

About 150 Chinese businessmen were arrested and a large amount of their goods were seized by Russia's Federal Migration Service in raids at the Cherkizovsky Market on June 29, in the east of Moscow.

Yu Anlin, chairman of Wenzhou Business Chamber in Russia, said merchants from Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province, alone, reported total losses of more than 800 million U.S. dollars.

Gao Hucheng said on July 15 that China supported Russia's crackdown on smuggling, but the two countries needed to cooperate to solve the problem through negotiation.

Ling Ji, deputy director of the Department of Europe under the MOC told Xinhua two main difficulties expected in the negotiations would be proving the businessmen imported their goods and traded legally.

"Chinese merchants need to provide business documents, including booth leasehold contracts and goods clearance documents," Ling said.

The Cherkizovsky Market, the biggest wholesale market in Moscow, was closed after the raid and has yet to reopen. Figures from the Russian Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry shows 60,000 Chinese did business in the Cherkizovsky Market.


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