VLADIVOSTOK, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and China can boost their bilateral trade to $100 billion by next year, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said at a meeting of officials from the two countries Friday.
Rogozin said that growth in trade between the two countries had accelerated in the first two months of this year to 4 percent, but called for even faster expansion.
“The pace is insufficient in order to meet the objective set by the leaders of Russia and China – to bring the bilateral trade turnover to $100 billion by 2015," Rogozin said at the meeting held in Russia's Vladivostok in the Far East.
Last year, China became Russia's largest trade partner and Russia became China's ninth largest, Rogozin said.
Chinese officials aim to stimulate investment in Russia and encourage an attractive business environment in the country, the Russian deputy prime minister said, adding that Russia will present several large investment projects at an upcoming exhibition in China in June.
Beijing is cementing its business ties with Moscow amid strained relations between Russia and the EU. President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit China next month and sign a number of bilateral agreements, including on potential Russian gas supplies to China.
Chinese investors recently confirmed plans to launch the first phase of a major Siberian timber complex later this year. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier said that cooperation with Beijing is a top priority for Moscow.
China is also interested in the development of alternative energy projects in Russia's new regions of Crimea and Sevastopol, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Wednesday.
Following Crimea's reunification with Russia, European countries announced a three-stage sanctions process against Russia.
The first stage saw the suspension of talks of a number of Russian and EU working groups. In the second stage, the EU announced visa sanctions and asset freezes against targeted Russian officials. The third stage, not yet reached, would be broad economic sanctions.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has called the language of sanctions in relation to Russia both inappropriate and counterproductive.