Moscow and Beijing have agreed to raise the share of ruble-yuan trade settlements, in a joint agreement signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday.
The document envisages “further strengthening of the Russian-Chinese cooperation in the financial sector, promoting increase of the share of national currencies in trade payments, investments and financing, expanding collaboration in such fields as payment systems and insurance.”
The two leaders agreed to raise trade turnover and further improvement of its structure, searching for new growth areas and collaboration in trade and economic cooperation. President Putin said Russia-China trade turnover could hit $100 billion by the end of this year.
According to the document, the sides also plan to “boost efforts aimed at harmonizing strategies, programs and measures to develop national economies and particular sectors.”
They also want to “create favorable environment for Russian and Chinese enterprises; jointly promote big projects in accordance with subjectivity principles of companies, the market-oriented approach, commercial-based work and observance of global practices; and sustainably expand the scope and raise the level of Russian-Chinese investment collaboration,” as well as to create favorable conditions for trans-border bond issuance.
The issues of “deepening cooperation in the oil and gas, coal, electricity areas, as well as in the fields of renewable energy resources, energy equipment and energy efficiency” are also on the agenda.
China is Russia’s largest trading partner, accounting for 15 percent of Russian international trade last year. Bilateral trade increased by 31.5 percent in 2017, reaching $87 billion.
As trade grows, the two countries are promoting settlements in ruble and yuan, bypassing the US dollar and other Western currencies.
According to the Russian Central Bank, both Russian and Chinese companies are willing to pay in ruble and renminbi, and this can be proven by real numbers. Last year, nine percent of payments for supplies from Russia to China were made in rubles, the regulator told RT. Russian companies paid for 15 percent of Chinese imports in the renminbi. Just three years ago, the numbers were two and nine percent, respectively.
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