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Silk Road Economic Belt Making Progress in Eurasia
   2016-01-07 07:52:11    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo Yan

Shen Danyang, spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce speaks at a news briefing in Beijing on Januarary 6,2016 [Photo: mofcom.gov.cn]

China's Ministry of Commerce says the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative is making progress in Eurasia, helping to coordinate policies and financing.

CRI's reporter Guo Yan has more.

 

Spokesman Shen Danyang says China has signed a host of cooperation agreements in the last year, concerning the Silk Road Economic Belt with countries and regions in Eurasia.

"The Ministry of Commerce has signed inter-governmental cooperation documents on building the Silk Road Economic Belt with eight countries in the Eurasia region. We have signed the Joint Declaration of Launching Negotiations on an Economic and Trade Cooperation Partnership Agreement between China and the Eurasian Economic Union. And we have established the Regional Cooperation Council Between China's Northeast Region and Russia's Far East Region, which was proposed by Russia's Far East Development Ministry."

Shen said China has signed bilateral currency swap agreements worth more than 210 billion yuan with seven Eurasian countries. In addition, seven Eurasian countries have become prospective founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

He added the ministry is also negotiating with Eurasian countries and the Eurasian Economic Commission on setting up free trade zones.

"A batch of cooperation projects aimed at improving inter-connectivity have been completed in succession, including the construction of several influential roads, cross-border transportation, energy infrastructure, and overseas economic and trade cooperation zones. These have become an important and early harvest at the beginning of the year for building the Silk Road Economic Belt."

Statistics show that China-Russia trade volume fell nearly 30 percent year on year in the first 11 months of 2015 to just over 60 billion U.S. dollars.

Shen says the main reason lies in external factors, including sluggish global demand and weak commodity prices, particularly crude oil.

He says trade volume between China and Russia could stop declining and begin increasing in 2016.

"Strategic cooperation projects in energy, nuclear power, aviation, spaceflight, high-speed railway and infrastructure made overall progress. Bilateral cooperation in the financial sector also saw significant improvement. We can see that the foundation of China-Russia economic and trade cooperation is solid."

According to the Ministry of commerce, China's imports of crude oil and iron ore, among other major commodities from Russia, maintained double-digit growth.

Last month, the two governments signed a memorandum and agreed on 15 pro-trade measures.

For CRI, I'm Guo Yan.

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