Information: Russian-Japanese trade and economic relations

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MOSCOW, June 14 (RIA Novosti) - The trend for growth in Russian-Japanese trade and economic relations, which had persisted since 1999, continued in 2004 as well.

Commodity turnover hit a record high, exceeding $8.8 billion, a 48.4% year-on-year growth. Russian export to Japan jumped by 35.3% to $5.7 billion, while import was up 80%, reaching $3.1 billion. In the first two months of 2005 the growth dynamics of commodity turnover was higher than the rates of the last year. Its volume amounted to $882 million, with export accounting for $471 million and import for $411 million.

In general, the commodity composition of Russian export did not change. Non-ferrous and precious metals (37%), seafoods (27%) and timber (11%) are traditionally the base of Russian export. Supplies of mineral raw materials and fuels (coal and oil products, whose share grew from 13% to 20%) increased considerably, by 130%.

Machinery and equipment, such as vehicles, road construction equipment, household appliances and communications means, prevail in Russian import.

The Japanese government adopted programs to allocate over $6 billion to support Russian reforms economically. The package of financial help to Russia contained $1.8 billion and $1.1 billion allotted by the Japanese state fund for the insurance of transactions in foreign trade. A considerable part of these funds has not been used yet.

The fuel and energy industry (Sakhalin oil and natural gas projects, the development of Yakut natural gas and coal fields, projects on the energy supply of Russian fuel and energy enterprises and nuclear power) is the strategic sector of Russian-Japanese economic cooperation. The parties are holding talks on Japan's extensive participation in the construction of the East Siberia - Pacific oil pipeline.

Japanese business circles have recently taken a growing interest in the development of bilateral trade and economic relations. Large Japanese companies, such as Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Matsushita and Sumitomo, intend to increase the volume of their transactions in Russia in 2005.

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