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16 Jun, 2009 19:36

Russia-China Economic Forum warms up buyers and tills

The financial crisis has cut trade volumes between Russia and China. But that hasn't stopped the partners signing billions of dollars of new deals at the Russia-China Economic Forum.

Everything looks busy – executives signing about 40 agreements worth a total of $3 billion – from energy and machine tools to consumer goods.

But so far this year, trade between the two countries has collapsed by almost 40% from last year according to Sergey Sanakoev, Chairman of the Russian-Chinese Centre of Trade and Economic Co-Operation.

"Demand is certainly lower and the Russian government is doing its best to increase the consumption of Russian products. We keep our business fair with our Chinese partners and do our best not to be protectionist against their goods."

While Russia looks to increase machinery and hi-technology exports, the Chinese are eager to show off their goods – one Chinese website targeted Russian shoppers, who Liu Yuitsti, Vice President of Yabao365 sees as new clients.

“Russia is the most important partner for China today. We see a lot of potential here and it's just a matter of people knowing what is out there, and telling them. Through the Internet or more traditional trade shows.”

There are dozens of Chinese companies at a shoe exhibition in Moscow – something that could be seen as a threat to domestic producers. But most Russian companies here actually have their factories in China, and see these facilities as an effective and wise form of economic cooperation.

Some of the challenges include getting goods into the country and educating consumers about quality, according to Anna Sobolevskaya, Representative from Lady Style.

“Everybody probably knows that the majority of products – not only in Russia but throughout the world are made in China. We see working with the Chinese as a sensible business strategy.”

As governments debate how to revive their economies, companies are already out there – doing businesses across borders.