Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s forthcoming visit to Russia will give an additional impetus to bilateral cooperation in various fields, said Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin in a recent interview.
Xi will pay a state visit to Russia on Monday and Tuesday, when he and Russian President Vladimir Putin will map out the direction and goals for the development of bilateral ties, further deepen mutual political trust, and promote cooperation.
“China is not just our close neighbor but also our main trade and economic partner,” Oreshkin told Xinhua, adding that Russia-China cooperation covers almost all areas, including energy, industry, infrastructure, agriculture, science and technology.
Last year, the two countries managed to reverse a declining trend in bilateral trade, which achieved a 2.2-percent growth to reach 69.5 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. They aim to raise the trade volume to 200 billion dollars by 2020.
The Russian Ministry of Economic Development and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce have started to identify the barriers to bilateral trade, investment and other economic activities, the minister said.
In his view, the increase of bilateral trade depends on the implementation of major joint projects.
“There are good conditions for cooperation in creating transport corridors — railways, highways and ports — through the territory of Russia, connecting the markets of China and Europe,” said Oreshkin.
China and Russia are now jointly developing the Arctic region and working on the creation of a wide-body long-haul aircraft.
During Xi’s visit, the two countries will sign a joint statement and approve the outlines for the 2017-2020 implementation of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia.
The two sides will also ink a series of documents on cooperation in areas such as trade, economy, investment, connectivity, media, and education.
“Cooperation with Chinese businesses means establishment of new enterprises, creation of jobs, and investment in infrastructure,” said the Russian minister.
To attract Chinese investors, he said, Russia has launched a number of infrastructure projects in the country’s Far East, close to China’s northeastern region.
The two countries have agreed to pair the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
The Belt and Road Initiative consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. It aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
The EAEU comprises Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, with an aim to encourage regional economic integration through free movement of goods, services, and people within the union.
The integration of the two development plans will create new opportunities for transforming Eurasia into a convenient environment for traders with most simplified procedures, said Oreshkin.
“We are talking about improving the transport and logistics infrastructure, creating new transport routes and logistics hubs by using Chinese investment or establishing consortia with Chinese companies,” he said.