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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.