The discussion focussed on pressing issues of cooperation between the two countries, particularly in trade, the economy and investment.
Li Keqiang is in Russia to attend the 19th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of Russia and China.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Prime Minister, friends. I am very happy to see you again.
We are pleased that our relations continue developing at a very good pace. Last year, despite the downturn in the global economy, our trade volume went up by 1.6 percent, while in the first six months of this year it was up 4.5 percent. It looks certain that next year we will be able to reach the target of $100 billion that we set with our friend, President of China Xi Jinping.
I would like to use this opportunity to ask you to convey our best wishes to him. I hope to see him shortly in Beijing at the APEC Forum.
I am very pleased to note that China is at the top of the list in terms of capital investment in the Russian economy – it comes fourth after Cyprus, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. However, these are countries with a favourable tax regime and clearly, this is a case of capital repatriation, when our own capital is returned. In essence, China is the biggest investor, and last year saw a 15 percent increase, which is a very good indicator.
This is largely happening through the efforts of both countries’ Governments, their practical work with the economy. In this connection, I would like to thank you and all your colleagues in the Chinese Government.
I know you had a very busy agenda yesterday in Russia. A large number of agreements were signed. However, it is not their number that matters, but the fact that they are promoting our cooperation in various spheres: in energy and, what is especially important, in high technology.
I am confident your visit will play a significant, notable role in developing Russian-Chinese relations.
Premier of The State Council of China Li Keqiang (retranslated): President Putin, I am very happy to see you again.
I would like to begin by conveying warm greetings and best wishes from you colleague, President Xi Jinping.
As you have said, yesterday was a very busy day. We worked very efficiently and productively within the framework of the Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government. Besides, we attended the signing of 38 documents. All this is evidence of a significant shift in our cooperation in various sectors.
You have correctly noted that the most important thing is to work to implement all the signed documents. To do this, it is essential to have an important foundation, namely mutual respect, equality and strong political trust.
I would like to highlight that against the backdrop of a global economic and financial downturn, we have achieved growth in trade between our two countries. The first eight months of this year show a very positive trend in this area.
It is noteworthy that in these first eight months of the year the export of Russian technology and machine building industry products has doubled, while our export of these goods to your country has gone up by only 1 percent. This speaks of a great potential for development and is evidence of a growth trend in all areas of cooperation.
You said China currently ranks fourth among investors in the Russian economy, although actually we are the first. I believe that with time as our mutual investments grow, we will move up on that list, because we are the largest neighbouring states. Russia has the biggest territory in the world, while China has the largest population. Therefore, that alone makes out two economies complementary.
Vladimir Putin: Quite right, I fully agree with you. Meanwhile, the growth of our trade turnover and its improved structure did not fall from the sky – this is a result of our hard work. We implement our agreements, which is extremely important.
We do have great plans. I would like to reiterate the idea you have just expressed: we are natural partners, natural allies, we are neighbours. We set ourselves ambitious but achievable goals and this will naturally benefit our two nations, both Russia and China.