China and Russia look to rebuild trade ties

China's trade with Russia has declined 40% this year as the global economic slowdown has hit. But despite Chinese government departments being ordered to "Buy Chinese," the two countries want to rebuild trade volumes.

Overtaking the European Union, China has become the biggest trading partner of the Russian Federation. Last year, bi-lateral trade amounted to $56.8 billion dollars, with the share of technical production increasing 20%.

Chinese president Hu Jintao came to Moscow on Wednesday for bi-lateral talks his Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, with his host enthusiastic about the latest energy agreements.

"The mechanism we worked out with the Chinese president has allowed us to sign very useful contracts in oil and gas, for instance. This deal, with a value of roughly $100 billion, is the largest ever signed by our countries."

In addition to energy, other areas of co-operation include finance, inter-regional projects and general trade.

Dmitry Medvedev and Hu Jintao have noted that the global economic slowdown has brought about a noticeable decrease in trade turnover and investment activity between their countries. But they agreed to work towards removing barriers to enhance accessibility to goods and services on their respective markets.

China's commerce minister, Chen Deming, says free market rules – including measures against protectionism and supporting Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization – are key.

"Our ultimate goal is to unite our efforts and export to other countries. Russia has a lot of production equipment for various technical machinery. And China has technology – especially electronically. Therefore we need to combine efforts. And, in actuality, this kind of co-operation has already begun."

China and Russia have their eyes on the global economy after the crisis, and are looking to define a new role in world trade.