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Russia-China cross-border infrastructure important for bilateral trade: Russian Far East minister

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-11-08 10:11

BEIJING -- The construction of cross-border infrastructure that unites the Russian Far East and Northeast China are of great significance for bilateral trade, Alexander Galushka, minister of Development of the Russian Far East, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Speaking about Russia's neighborhood with China, Galushka quoted a Chinese proverb: "A close neighbor is better than a distant relative."

However, he noted that a "door" is necessary between the neighbors to realize the potential in trade.

"Therefore, the construction of a cross-border infrastructure, bridges and checkpoints serves as an important direction for integration to take place," he said.

The minister is a member of the delegation that visited China with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to attend the 22nd China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting last week.

According to Galushka, China-Russia Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge will be completed in the first half of 2018 and Heihe-Blagoveshchensk highway bridge will be delivered in 2019.

Galushka said the more cross-border infrastructure linking, the greater the opportunities for increasing the flow of goods between the Russian Far East and China.

The district registered a trade volume of over $6 billion with China in 2016, accounting for 25 percent of its total foreign trade volume.

To further promote cross-border trade, the minister stressed the need for consistent implementation of a policy of greater openness and the creation of favorable conditions for trade between the two countries.

With the Far East free port system, efficient and convenient 24-hour customs clearance service is now available. China's export freight to Russia via the Far East port have increased three fold in volume this year according to Russian statistics.

Galushka also expressed his support for the development of electronic commerce between Russia and China.

The creation of favorable conditions, the development of appropriate infrastructure and the support of new forms and methods of trade, all of these together work for one goal -- increasing trade between Russia and China, the minister said.

As for the difficulties and obstacles in Sino-Russian cooperation in the development of the Far East, the minister called them "pleasant chores".

"I do not see any fundamental difficulties, these are all the working issues that we have been dealing with and will continue to deal," he said.

The minister also expects the present electronic visa system to encourage more Chinese tourists to visit the Far East, noting its simplicity and convenience.

"A Chinese citizen, sitting at home, visits a special Foreign Ministry website, fills in the application form, receives a response within 4 days, he only has to buy a ticket and fly to Vladivostok for eight days," Galushka said.

According to the minister, from Jan 1, tourists can fly to Kamchatka or Sakhalin after obtaining an e-visa. Plans are underway to expand the simplified visa regime to other Far Eastern regions.

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