BEIJING (Sputnik) — Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced that Russia and China are considering the possibility of cooperating on the issue of national payment systems, in particular on linking Russia's MIR payment system with China's Union Pay.
"We are discussing the issue of using our national currencies, the ruble and the yuan, in bilateral payments… and of course, we are taking a closer look at the possibilities created, in particular, by the national payment systems, including the Chinese national payment system Union Pay. We [Russia] are developing our payment system on the basis of MIR cards," Medvedev said at a joint press conference with Chinese State Council Premier Li Keqiang.
Both Russia and China, as well as a number of oil producers, such as Venezuela, Iran are using their national currencies in energy trade. At the end of 2014, the countries reached a three-year agreement on currency swaps worth over $2.4 billion. This step led to the growth of bilateral trade and the establishment of a clearing house bank in Moscow, aimed at handling transactions in Chinese yuan.
The Russian MIR national payment system was created as a response to sanctions imposed on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine. This measure was taken after Visa and MasterCard stopped serving the cards of some Russian banks because of the US. The system was launched in Russia in April 2015. The MIR payment cards are expected to be able to access multiple transaction networks, which is known as co-badging. MIR has already secured deals with MasterCard, JCB, AmEx.