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China, Russia seek to expand economic ties

(Xinhua)

10:04, October 11, 2011

BEIJING - China and Russia discussed expansion of economic cooperation on Monday, paving way for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's upcoming visit to China.

In a nearly two-hour discussion Monday morning, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and his Russian counterpart Alexander Zhukov expressed willingness to explore new directions for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

"In the next phase, China and Russia will make efforts to maintain the rapid growth of bilateral trade and improve trade structure," Wang said at the 15th meeting of the Joint Commission for the Regular Meetings of Heads of Government of China and Russia.

Wang said the two countries will discuss building a special economic zone in Russia, expanding local currency settlement in trade, pushing forward key cooperative projects in space cooperation, and promoting infrastructure construction.

China has become Russia's top trading partner, and trade volume this year is expected to exceed $70 billion, he said.

"The two countries should give full play to their respective advantages to expand cooperation in scope and depth," Wang said.

"We totally have the ability and confidence to maintain the sound momentum of Sino-Russian economic cooperation, create new highlights of cooperation in energy resources, high technology, infrastructure, finance and tourism, and realize the goal of making trade reach $100 billion by 2015 and then to $200 billion by 2020," Wang said.

China will also enhance communication and coordination with Russia within the framework of the Group of 20 (G20), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Wang said.

Zhukov said the two sides conducted candid and detailed discussions in economy and trade fields during the meeting, including bolstering bilateral customs cooperation, issues concerning Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), and cooperation in long-range wide-body aircraft.

Zhukov expressed appreciation for China's consistent support for Russia's entry into the WTO.

Russia will make joint efforts with China to open up new direction for bilateral economic and trade cooperation, he said.

Zhukov noted the two countries have explored new cooperative highlights in areas such as technological innovations, energy, nuclear energy, space technology, and environment protection.

Putin will arrive in Beijing for a two-day visit on Tuesday, during which he will attend the 16th regular meeting between the two countries' premiers.

Also on Tuesday, Wang will also co-chair a Sino-Russian energy negotiators' meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, the upcoming meeting between Wen and Putin will "summarize experience after the 15th regular meeting and implement the agreements reached during President Hu's Russia visit in June."

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