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UPDATED: February 18, 2009
China, Russia Ink Agreements to Boost Energy Co-op
The agreements include a pipeline construction project, a long-term crude oil trading deal and a financing scheme

China and Russia on Tuesday signed seven agreements on a package cooperation program for energy resources.

The agreements include a pipeline construction project, a long-term crude oil trading deal and a financing scheme between the China Development Bank and the Russia Oil Pipeline Transport Company, according to a source with the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

According to the agreements, the crude oil trading volume is estimated to reach 15 million tonnes, the source added.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin.

During the previous talks held between the two, Wang highlighted that the strengthening of the bilateral energy cooperation between the two sides would help stabilize the two economies.

"We hope the two sides will give a full play to the bilateral energy negotiation mechanism to promote the bilateral energy cooperation to score substantial outcomes," Wang told Sechin.

The Russian deputy prime minister agreed with Wang's views, calling on the two countries to step up cooperation in such fields as energy and finance and make joint efforts to guarantee the contracted projects be implemented according to the agreed roadmap and schedule.

The two sides also agreed that the bilateral energy cooperation already scored a "substantial step forward."

In a following meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Sechin said that the achievements of this visit indicated the high level of the bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation.

Russia would work with China to make more achievements to celebrate this year's 60th anniversary of forging diplomatic ties, Sechin said.

Wen said the agreements are fruits of friendly and strategic cooperation between the two countries, adding the cooperation is of high significance for the two countries to work together to cope with the international financial crisis and advance their relations.

The energy cooperation between the two nations is long-term, comprehensive and sustainable, Wen said, hoping that the related organs would act promptly to implement all the agreements.

Official statistics showed that Russian-Chinese bilateral trade posted a rapid growth in the first half of last year but slowed in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter, as the global economic turmoil spread.

Trade between the two countries was valued at 56.8 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 18 percent year-on-year. It was sharply down from 44.3 percent of growth rate in 2007, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

Russia's gross domestic product (GDP) grew only 5.6 percent year-on-year in 2008 because of the financial crisis and drastic decline in income from oil exports. The growth rate was 2.5 percentage points lower than a year-earlier level.

(Xinhua News Agency February 18, 2009)

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