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China, Russia to open new chapter of bilateral economic relations

By Wang Junling from People’s Daily Overseas Edition

It is widely believed that the fourth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), first attended by a Chinese head of state, signifies that China-Russia economic and trade relations have been lifted onto a new height and come to a new chapter.

Cross-border e-commerce, two-way investment, construction of the Belt and Road, and regional economic cooperation become focus of attendees at the EEF running from Tuesday to Thursday.

China’s information technology development provides a broad space for globalization of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said Director of the China International Electronic Commerce Center (CIECC) Zhu Xiaoliang, adding that e-commerce is developing rapidly and is mature in China.

Zhu believes that China can help Russia’s SMEs better develop cross-border e-commerce, explore the international market and achieve mutual benefit and win-win cooperation by giving full play to its advantages in e-commerce and the role of overseas Chinese as a bridge.

General Director of Russian Post Nikolay Podguzov told People’s Daily that Russia, stretching across the Eurasian continent, enjoys a unique geographical advantage.

With construction of the Belt and Road, commodity and cargo transportation between Asia and Europe will be much more convenient, he added, hoping Chinese suppliers could increase use of his company’s logistics system in the future.

“It is noticed that investment in transportation infrastructure related to Belt and Road construction helps to improve the economy of Central and Eastern European countries,” Professor Vladimir F. Pecheritsa at Far Eastern Federal University noted.

China and Russia have a unique prospect for cooperation on co-building a “Polar Silk Road” in Arctic, said the professor, adding that the two sides, with complementary advantages, can open the Arctic sea routes to shorten the shipping distance between Asia and Europe.

Zhou Xiaochuan, vice chair of the Boao Forum for Asia, pointed out that the governments need to attract more social capital into construction of the Belt and Road by effectively promoting cooperation between financial institutions in the future.

The governments should also encourage direct financing and settlement in the currency of the host country in construction of Belt and Road projects, Zhou said, adding that project managers should reasonably price and efficiently manage finished projects to cut unnecessary costs and increase returns.

The EEF and the dialogue between China-Russia local leaders held on the sidelines of the EEF were attended by the highest level of Chinese delegation ever recorded, including delegates from China’s northeastern provinces that border Russia, and coastal areas in south and east China such as Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces.

Chinese and Russian regional leaders put forth various measures to deepen bilateral economic and trade relations at the forum.

For example, northeast China’s Jilin province pledged to implement a large number of high-quality projects in Russia, of China’s First Automotive Works (FAW), Jilin Forestry Industry Group and other companies.

Russia’s Irkutsk Oblast, with rich experiences in cooperating with China, plans to further strengthen cooperation with China in two-way investment in environmental protection, tourism development at the Lake Baikal, and trade of industrial products.

Amur Oblast of Russia also announced at the forum to facilitate customs clearance at its ports to boost trade and economic exchanges between China and Russia.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the forum is beneficial for China-Russia economic and trade cooperation, especially for development of the Far East, Ugra Development Fund CEO Roman Genkel told People’s Daily.

“China has capital, technologies, and experiences. I believe people in the Far East would like to do business with China,” he noted.

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