Interview with the Minister Alexey Ulyukaev for the newspaper «Jinji Ribao» («Economic Daily»), September, 2013
The Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexey Ulyukaev, who had come to visit China, gave an exclusive interview to the newspaper «Jinji Ribao» («Economic Daily»), during which he shared his opinion on the prospects of Chinese-Russian economic cooperation.
How do you assess the development of trade and economic relations between China and Russia?
Alexey Ulyukaev: I strongly believe in the beautiful prospects of Chinese-Russian trade and economic cooperation. For a long time there are good results in a bilateral trade growth. The People's Republic of China remains the main trading partner of the Russian Federation, and Russia is on the ninth place among trading partners of China in 2012. From 2008 to 2012 the annual rate of growth of Chinese-Russian trade turnover had been 17 %. Last year, trade turnover volume exceeded $ 87.5 billion reaching the highest level in history.
To maintain stable and lasting economic relations it is necessary to do a lot of work. It is necessary to actively promote the diversification of bilateral trade, expand the supply of production of high technologies and knowledge-intensive industries. It mainly concerns the structure of goods exported from Russia to China. However, the development of cooperation in the field of advanced technologies also is very important. By signing Memorandum on Cooperation between the Governments of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China in the Sphere of Economic Modernization in 2011, the countries adopted about 40 future projects that will be supported, enterprises of the two countries launched cooperation in the field of aircraft building, peaceful use of nuclear energy, cosmonautics, information and communication technologies, efficient using and saving energy. In addition, in December, 2012 the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China signed an agreement on establishing a mechanism for the implementation of the above mentioned memorandum.
To stimulate the growth of the bilateral trade it is imperative for Russia and China to actively disclose potential of cooperation in countries and between them, open a new regional market for enterprises, adopt effective logistics projects using existing exhibitions and conferences, promote exchanges.
What areas will be the most important for the future Chinese-Russian economic cooperation?
Alexey Ulyukaev: In future, energetics will remain the main sphere of bilateral cooperation. In this industry, the countries taking into account the real needs of the two economies and comprehensive state interests have the potential to gradually promote cooperation and its diversification. This mainly concerns cooperation in the oil and gas industry, electric power, coal industry and in the field of nuclear energy. Broad development prospects are also observed in the sphere of energy-saving cooperation, efficient use of traditional and alternative energy resources.
Furthermore, other important areas of cooperation between the two countries include the construction, infrastructure, transport, IT-communication, processing of mineral resources, as well as projects in the field of high technologies and innovations. Agriculture should be especially noted, countries have the great potential for cooperation in the production and processing of food.
What positive factors can you note in Chinese-Russian trade and economic cooperation after the accession of Russia into the WTO?
Alexey Ulyukaev: Speaking on foreign partners including China, the actual result of the accession of Russia into the WTO is that Russia is now gradually reducing customs duties. By 2015, Russia will have the weighted average rate of import duties; from the current 9.5 % it will decrease to 6%. It is the gradual process of reducing, import taxes on many Chinese products, which are exported to Russia, will be decreased; it concerns textile products, clothes, building materials, automotive industry, as well as some metal products. In general, after the accession of Russia into the WTO Russian market will become more open relative to Chinese goods, the competitiveness of the market will strengthen; new opportunities for Chinese suppliers of products and services will be available.