Cooperation with Russia stands high on China's priority list

MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Chinese official said cooperation with Russia stood high on his country's priority list.

Zeng Peiyan, the deputy chairman of China's State Council, met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov in Moscow on Friday.

Peiyan said they viewed the visit to Russia by State Council Chairman Hu Jintao, due in late June, as an extremely important event.

Peiyan said China planned to increase its share in bilateral commodity turnover to $12 billion by 2020, and it could achieve the target even earlier.

Peiyan said his further talks with Zhukov and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov would focus on issues of cooperation in trade, energy, investment, and major joint projects in other spheres.

Peiyan recalled the two countries had reached agreement on seven projects worth $1,700,000,000 overall at last year's bilateral forum in St. Petersburg.

According to the data prepared for the meeting, Russian-Chinese commodity turnover went up by $7.84 billion in the period from January to April 2005. In 2004, mutual trade was $21.3 billion, which was by 34.7% up compared to 2003.

Russian exports grew 24.7% over that period, reaching $12.13 billion. China increased exports to Russia by 50.9%, to $9.1 billion.

Russia's positive balance in bilateral trade continues to decline. Last year, it shrank by 18%.

The share of raw materials and primary treatment products continued growing in Russia's exports to China last year. For example, petroleum and oil products account for 34.5% of all Russian exports, which is a 21.5% increase, while crude exports more than doubled reaching 10.78 million metric tons worth $2,936,000,000.

China stepped up equipment and machinery supplies to Russia. The export of these items grew by 47.5% and reached $1,560,000,000. China generally supplies household appliances, electrical and communications equipment, and furs. In 2004, Russia bought furs from China totaling $1,190,000,000.

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