Russia, China Sign $4 Billion In Trade Deals

Large steel deal gives Russia a growing position in Chinese market.

At the culmination of a Moscow visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, China and Russia signed new trade deals worth $4 billion in metals, mining and oil on March 27. The 21 contracts include an agreement by Russian state oil company Rosneft to supply jet fuel to China and long-term export contracts for Russian steel products, a spokesman for first Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

Among the biggest contracts was a $460 million agreement by Russia's Novolipetsk Steel to supply steel to electrical parts maker Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock. Novolipetsk will deliver 94,000 tons of steel from 2007-2011 and "gain a strong position in the growing Chinese market," company president Alexei Lapshin said.

The Chinese president was seeking new energy deals, and on March 26 won an agreement for increased deliveries of Russian oil by rail, which should jump from the 11 million tons delivered in 2006 to 15 million tons per year.

Hu continues his energy quest March 27 with a visit to Tatarstan, a mainly Muslim province in central Russia that has extensive oil reserves. The Chinese president will meet there on March 28 with the region's leader Mintimir Shaimiyev. Both sides said bilateral trade jumped over the past year, though their statistics differed: China said trade grew 15% in 2006, while Russia said trade grew 43% over the same period.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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