News / Economy

China, Russia Vow to Quadruple Trade This Decade

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao attend a signing ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin, June 16, 2011
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao attend a signing ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin, June 16, 2011
James Brooke

A $1 trillion gas deal of the century was to be signed Friday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, on a visit this day to St. Petersburg said that China and Russia set a goal of increasing trade fourfold during this decade.

As Russian President Dmitry Medvedev nodded approvingly, Hu told an international gathering of corporate executives that the two leaders have set a goal of $200 billion in bilateral trade by 2020.

Medvedev also spoke glowingly of the growing economic partnership between the two neighbors.

Last year, China displaced Germany as Russia’s largest trading partner. Twenty years after borders opened following the collapse of the Soviet Union, 3 million people from China and Russia now visit each other’s country each year.

Setting a bold trade goal served to distract attention from their failure to sign a massive gas deal. For one month, the leaders' aides had been predicting that Hu would sign the deal during his visit to Russia.

Asia analyst Bobo Lo said, “I was pretty surprised that they didn’t come up with some kind of face-saving gas agreement in time for Hu Jintao’s visit.”

In the deal, China would buy as much as $1 trillion worth of Siberian gas from Russia over the next 30 years, starting in 2015. The amount of gas would be equal to almost half the gas that Russia currently sells every year to Europe.

In a last-minute sales effort on Thursday night, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, often considered Russia’s top negotiator, took the Chinese president on a personal tour of Gazprom, the Russian state gas company.

Talks started 10 years ago. The sticking point remains price.

China is developing shale gas at home, is buying pipeline gas from Turkmenistan and is importing liquefied natural gas from Australia.

Russia knows that Chinese gas consumption may grow to match all of Europe’s consumption by 2035. China will have no choice, the Russians say, but to turn to Siberia.

On the standoff, Lo said, "Both the Russians and the Chinese believe they are in a strong negotiating position.”

China already has announced plans to increase coal imports from Russia and to double its oil imports from Russia.

Russia’s excitement over the China’s leader's visit reflects reversed roles of the two neighboring giants.

Fifty years ago, Russia was the top foreign aid donor to China. Now, China’s economy is five times the size of Russia’s. In a recent survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers, Russian business leaders listed China as their number-one growth area. For Chinese business leaders, Russia did not figure among the top 10.

The conference goal was for Medvedev to tell the world that Russia is open for business. Addressing a hall filled with 1,000 international participants, he declared, "We are not building state capitalism.”

He went on to say, “My choice is different. Private entrepreneurship and private investors should reign in the Russian economy.”

Medvedev cited liberalizing steps - speeding up the selling of state companies, cutting bureaucratic demands for visas and construction permits, and joining the World Trade Organization by the end of this year.

Markets, he said, are like parachutes - they only work when they are open.

This liberalizing rhetoric was music to the ears of his business audience. But Russia has presidential elections in March.

When the next economic forum rolls around, this time next year, no one knows who will be sitting in the Kremlin as president of Russia.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.