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Chinese Premier to visit Russia next month
September 24, 2014, 8:11 am

File photo of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Beijing, China in October 2013 [Xinhua]

File photo of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Beijing, China in October 2013 [Xinhua]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will visit Russia next month to boost bilateral ties between the two BRICS members.

Li will co-chair the bilateral prime ministers’ regular meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on 13 October. The two states’ premiers will also hold a meeting at the international forum Open Innovations on 14 October.

Li told visiting Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko in Beijing on Tuesday that the Chinese leadership is keen on further strengthening cooperation with Russia in trade, investment, energy, technology and culture.

He said China’s equipment manufacturing industry, having an edge in quality, cost-effectiveness and market competitiveness, is willing to participate in Russia’s infrastructure construction, mainly high speed railway projects and railway upgrades.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said earlier this year that the Sino-Russian ties, including those on approaches to international problems, are at an unprecedented level.

“As for our relations with China’s People’s Republic, they develop successfully and are at an unprecedentedly high level – both at the level of trust and the level of cooperation. I mean also the political sphere, our common approaches to estimations of international situations and to security in the world,” he said during a Q&A session in April in Moscow.

Russia’s trade turnover with China is almost thrice as big as that with the US.

“It is absolutely clear that we will be expanding collaboration with China. Our trade with the United States is 27.5 [billion], but trade with China is 87 billion, and it is growing. And experts will agree that China is gradually becoming the number one economic power. The question is when it will happen: in 15, 20 or 25 years. But everybody understands that it is inevitable,” asserted Putin.

The Russian and Chinese central banks have recently agreed on a draft currency swap agreement, which will allow them to increase trade in domestic currencies and cut the dependence on the US dollar in bilateral payments.

A Bloomberg report says the yuan-ruble trade on the Moscow Exchange has jumped 10-fold this year to $749 million in August.

Earlier this month, Moscow and Beijing have entered into a pact to boost use of the rouble and yuan for trade transactions.

“We’re going to encourage companies from the two countries to settle more in local currencies, to avoid using a currency from a third country,” Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said referring to the US dollar.

Moscow is looking to increase trade and banking cooperation with Beijing, even as it battles new rounds of sanctions imposed by the EU and US over the Ukraine crisis.

“We talked about the infrastructure of investment cooperation, expanding trade in rubles and yuan, banking cooperation, the possibility of Russian companies opening accounts and being issued loans from Chinese banks, as well as the possibility of facilitating Chinese companies’ access to Russian banks,” Shuvalov said.

The European Union had earlier in July published a law to cut off financing for five major Russian banks over Moscow’s alleged support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Putin oversaw the start of construction on a giant gas pipeline that will ship $400 billion worth of Russian gas to China for the next 30 years.

“Just now, we along with our Chinese friends are starting the biggest construction project in the world,” Putin told Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, who was also present at the launch.

Russia also plans to sign a 30-year gas supply contract with China via the western route, Russian energy giant Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller told President Vladimir Putin last week.

The route to supply gas to China via western Siberia may be implemented faster than the eastern route, through which Moscow has agreed to ship the fuel to its Asian neighbor in May.



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