Trade boom cements ties
Last year, trade between China and Russia reached a record high of twenty-nine billion US dollars. This boom in economic and trade cooperation has become a driving force behind bilateral relations.
Sino-Russian trade has been booming in recent years, with expanding bilateral cooperation as the upshot.
The prospering Yabaolu Market area near Beijing's diplomatic zone is a good example -- Many people simply call it the Russian Market. Because most of the shoppers here are foreign, and a large percentage are Russian.
For years, these businesses at Yabaolu, as well as small markets near the Sino-Russian border, accounted for about 50 percent of China's exports to Russia.
But in recent years, government efforts have brought bilateral trade to new heights.
Xia Yishan, research fellow of China Inst. Of Contemporary Int'l Relations, said: "Thanks to the efforts of both sides, Sino-Russian trade relations have developed fast. Trade volume has increased by more than 30 percent annually. But as strategic partners, the two countries realize the size of bilateral trade is still small. And they have expressed determination to expand ties."
Last year, trade volume between China and Russia reached some 29 billion US dollars, up by 37 percent on the previous period. China is now Russia's fourth largest trade partner. And both sides hope to boost bilateral trade to between 60 to 80 billion US dollars by 2010. Analysts say the soaring trade is expected to exceed all existing targets ahead of schedule.
Xia Yishan said: "I think the growth in bilateral trade will mainly come from enlarged cooperation on energy and technology. Russia has advantages in both these areas. Deepening collaboration in these fields will help improve our trade structure."
Last June, a Russian train carrying crude oil arrived in Daqing, a major Chinese oil base. It was the first shipment of its kind. The city was then linked with Manzhouli on the border with Russia earlier this year. And the two governments are now discussing a pipeline along the same route. Both sides believe there is great potential for further cooperation.