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    RUSSIAN EASTERN REGIONS' DEVELOPMENT IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT ADJOINING COUNTRIES' INVESTMENTS

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    MOSCOW, January 28, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- The rapid development of the Russian eastern regions is impossible without the intensive attraction to their economies of investments from the Russian Asian neighbours, says the article of Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov "Russia in Asia and Asia in Russia" published on the foreign ministry's site on Wednesday.

    "The tangible presence of Asia in the Russian East is just as necessary for us economically as the integration of the Russian economy in the new Asian economic environment, which is being formed," he said.

    "This is our strategic task for the coming years, the solution of which would considerably intensify the economic development of Russia as a whole and not only its eastern regions," Ivanov added.

    According to him, the trade and economic ties between Russia and China have been rapidly developing of late. Preliminary forecast says that the volume of trade between the two countries last year was, possibly, more than $15 billion. The minister also pointed out that as distinct from the past more than 80% of turnover falls on the non-state trade.

    Despite the existence of the positive changes in Russian-Chinese trade and economic relations, still a lot has to be improved in this sphere, Igor Ivanov believes. And now, there is a certain vacuum in the most promising sphere - contacts between representatives of small and medium-sized business.

    Speaking about the development of the investment interaction between the two countries, the minister stressed the importance of the Chinese projects for the revival of the industrial base of the Chinese north-east and the programme of the economic upsurge in the Russian Far East.

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