Belt, Road boosts trade

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - XI'S VISIT - By JING SHUIYU jing­shuiyu@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Trade be­tween China and Rus­sia is ex­pected to grow thanks to the op­por­tu­ni­ties cre­ated by the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, ex­perts said.

“In the next one to two years, Sino-Rus­sian trade will likely con­tinue de­liv­er­ing double-digit growth, partly bol­stered by their strong eco­nomic com­ple­men­tar­i­ties,” Wei Jian­guo, vice-pres­i­dent of the China Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes, said on Mon­day.

Also, China’s in­vest­ment in Rus­sia is ex­pected to grow sig­nif­i­cantly, and the two coun­tries will also work more closely to in­vest in third coun­tries, es­pe­cially economies along the Belt and Road, said Wei, a for­mer vice-min­is­ter of com­merce.

Li Hui, China’s am­bas­sador to Rus­sia, said, “China and Rus­sia have enor­mous po­ten­tial for bi­lat­eral eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion. ... More new growth ar­eas, such as agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, and oil and gas equip­ment, are likely to be fos­tered.”

“De­spite the global eco­nomic down­turn and sev­eral other un­fa­vor­able fac­tors last year, Sino-Rus­sian trade has been sta­bi­lized. The up­trend will likely be main­tained this year,” he said at a re­cent news con­fer­ence.

“The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive will help China and Rus­sia up­grade their cross­bor­der eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion in trade and in­vest­ments,” said Sun Cheng­hai, di­rec­tor of the Foreign Trade Development Bu­reau at the Min­istry of Com­merce. “Rus­sia is build­ing eco­nomic development zones and di­ver­si­fy­ing the func­tions of Zaru­bino Port, which is 18 kilo­me­ters from its bor­der with China.”

In 2015, the global eco­nomic down­turn and low en­ergy prices dragged down the trad­ing vol­ume be­tween the two coun­tries. But the fig­ure quickly bounced back in 2016, with a boost from e-com­merce.

“Big-ticket projects in such fields as en­ergy and trans­porta­tion are go­ing smoothly,” Sun said. “In­ter­con­nec­tion, fi­nan­cial and trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive def­i­nitely has pro­found im­pli­ca­tions in terms of re­solv­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and im­prov­ing the business en­vi­ron­ment be­tween two coun­tries.”

Last month, China Rail­way Group an­nounced it will build a high-speed rail­way in Rus­sia con­nect­ing the coun­try’s third-largest city, Yeka­ter­in­burg, with Chelyabinsk. The project will in­volve a to­tal in­vest­ment of $2.5 bil­lion.

The train, at an es­ti­mated speed of up to 250 kilo­me­ters per hour, will cut the jour­ney be­tween two cities to ap­prox­i­mately one hour and 10 min­utes from five hours.

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