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    LAST YEAR SAW RUSSIA-CHINA TRADE GROW 25%

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    MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) - According to Russian customs statistics, trade turnover between Russia and China came to 11.5 billion dollars' worth last year, growing 25 percent against 2002. Exports came to $8.252 billion (a 21% growth); imports, to $3.295 billion (a 37.2% growth).

    China's share in Russia's foreign trade last year reached 6 percent (exports, 6.2%; imports, 5.8%), whereas Russia's share in China's foreign trade was only about 2 percent (imports, 2.4%; exports, 1.4%), the Russian State Customs Committee reports in a press release.

    China is Russia's forth largest trade partner. But by comparing Russian statistics against Chinese, one will see discrepancies in the figures cited by the two governments. Oddly enough, these gaps remain unchanged despite the steady turnover growth of recent years. This goes to show that a considerable amount of traded goods, such as textiles, furs, leather, and shoes, simply goes unregistered, the Committee says.

    The inflow of cheap Chinese merchandise, often of a poor quality, causes legitimate discontent on the part of Russian companies suffering from unfair competition, Mikhail Vanin, Chairman of the State Customs Committee, pointed out, calling on Russian customs agencies to make every effort to protect domestic producers.

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