China-Russia trade to stop dropping in 2016

Beijing, Jan 6 (IANS) Trade volume between China and Russia could stop declining and begin increasing on a yearly basis in 2016, a spokesman for the commerce ministry said on Wednesday.

“The foundation of China-Russia economic and trade cooperation is solid. The two countries will make efforts to buoy declining bilateral trade,” Xinhua cited ministry spokesman Shen Danyang as saying.

China-Russia trade volume fell 29.3 percent year on year in the first 11 months of 2015 to $61.3 billion.

Shen attributed the decline mainly to external factors, including sluggish global demand and weak commodity prices, particularly crude oil.

“The two countries will innovate cooperation patterns and raise trade facilitation levels to reverse the downward trend as soon as possible,” said the spokesman.

There were “bright spots” in China-Russia economic and trade cooperation in 2015, he said.

China continued to be Russia’s largest trading partner in 2015 and bilateral trade accounted for 12 percent of Russia’s foreign trade in 2015, up from 11.3 percent in 2014.

China’s import of crude oil and iron ore, among other major commodities from Russia, maintained double-digit growth.

Cooperation projects in energy, nuclear power, aviation, spaceflight, high-speed railway and infrastructure made progress.

Last month, the two governments signed a memorandum and agreed on 15 pro-trade measures.

“Thanks to these efforts, favourable factors are building up,” said Shen.

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