Russia to boost trade with China to $200 bn: Putin

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Russia's trade with China will be no less than $80 billion in 2011 and is going to quickly grow to $200 billion, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday while meeting China's Wen Jiabao.

"Last year our trade volume was $59 billion, and this year it's already $53 billion in the first eight months, it will probably be no less than $80 billion for the year," Putin told his Chinese counterpart.

"We will quickly reach the level of $100 billion and $200 billion, as we planned," he said in remarks before closed-door bilateral talks.

"Today we are witnessing big progress not only in developing friendship and political trust between our countries, but also in developing mutually beneficial economic cooperation," Wen responded.

Putin hosted the Chinese prime minister in Saint-Petersburg less than a month after going on state visit to its powerful neighbor to the east. The countries announced then they wanted to raise trade volume to $200 billion by 2020.

Russia and China have been locked in negotiations over a massive gas supply deal that could send an annual 70 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to energy-hungry China over a period of 30 years.

Although officials have said the countries are closer than ever to signing the long-delayed deal, no breakthrough has come yet due to disagreements on prices.

© 2011 AFP

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