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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9211
JPY
USD
119.18
GBP
USD
0.6722
CAD
USD
1.2509
INR
USD
62.518

Rates may not be current.