President to visit Russia, $4.3 billion deals in sight

By Sun Shangwu (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-03-22 07:02

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao during a bilateral meeting at the sideline of the G8 summit in St. Petersburg July 17, 2006. [Reuters]
Chinese and Russian companies are expected to sign contracts worth over $4.3 billion during President Hu Jintao's state visit to Russia next week, a senior Chinese official said yesterday in Beijing.

Hu's trip, from March 26 to 28, aims to strengthen political trust and push forward the economic and trade partnership, according to Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui.

Bilateral trade reached a record $33.4 billion last year, up 14.7 per cent over the previous year, said Li.

Hu and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will discuss ways of increasing mutual investment, enhancing cooperation in energy, infrastructure, forestry and high-tech sectors, Li said. Among the agreements to be signed is one between the two country's railway authorities on the transport of crude oil.

The two presidents are expected to issue a political document after their summit on Monday, which will elaborate on bilateral ties as well as international issues such as the reform of the United Nations, international anti-terrorism cooperation, the nuclear issues related to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Iran, the Middle East and development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according to Li.

He said that members of the SCO, which comprises China, Russia and some Central Asian nations, will hold a joint military drill in Russia this year aimed at increasing collaboration to fight terrorism in the region.

Hu and Putin will also attend the inaugural ceremony of the "Year of China".

China hosted the "Year of Russia" in 2006, with some 300 activities attracting more than 500,000 visitors.

The "Year of China" in Russia will feature some 200 events, including a Chinese national exhibition, a cultural festival, a business forum and an investment conference.

Li said that more than 200 companies from across China will take part in the national exhibition, covering such sectors as energy, machinery manufacturing, household electrical appliances, textiles, information technology, agriculture, tourism and services trade.

Russian Ambassador to China Sergei Razov said on Tuesday in Beijing that smooth progress is being made in energy sector collaboration.

Russia plans to pipe 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China each year, the ambassador said during an interview with Xinhua.

"We are continuing a project to provide gas to China which includes building a gas pipeline through Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region," Razov said.

Russia plans to provide natural gas from 2011 through two lines a western line through Xinjiang and an eastern line which traverses China's northeastern border with Russia.

Razov said the construction of a 2,800-km-long crude oil pipeline is also going well, with a quarter having been completed.

Xinhua contributes to the story

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