Lavrov says US-Russia trade increased to $27bln under Trump

Trade between the US and Russia has increased during the Donald Trump administration in spite of the sanctions levied on Moscow, the Russian FM has revealed. Washington sees it as an excuse to keep the sanctions in place, though.

“Regardless of the sanctions – which obviously hurt everyone – the trade between our two countries has grown during the Trump presidency from $20 billion, to which it was reduced under President Obama, to $27 billion this year,” Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, told reporters in Washington, DC on Tuesday, after meeting with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

“This is an increase of almost one third, and means new jobs in both countries and an increase in the profits of producers. I think that if we give additional incentives to such cooperation, the results will be even more mutually beneficial,” Lavrov added.

While the Russian diplomat framed the trade numbers as an argument against the US blockade, Pompeo reiterated his government’s commitment to keeping it in place. Asked what the conditions for lifting the sanctions would be, the secretary of state declined to answer, adding only that the Trump administration regarded the sanctions as “appropriate given US policy, US law and risks that are presented.”

He did, however, mention possible “significant progress” in the economic relationship between Washington and Moscow that could be announced in the “next short period of time,” without offering any details.

China has expanded the list of Russian suppliers of poultry meat

Under the guarantee of the Rosselkhoznadzor, the Main Customs Directorate of the People’s Republic of China added another 11 Russian enterprises to the white list of suppliers of poultry products.

According to the Russian department, at present, 40 Russian poultry processing companies and 15 enterprises for storing these products have the right to export goods.

In addition, after lengthy negotiations, China agreed to supply by-products of Russian turkeys to the PRC.

First railway bridge connecting Russia & China promises to boost trade to new highs

The construction of the long-awaited railway bridge between Russia and China will be finished by the end of next year, according to Russian presidential envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, Yury Trutnev.

Work on the bridge was initially scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2020, but due to difficulties the initial project had to be redesigned.

“We’ll have to start a new project, because the river where our (Russian) side of the bridge is being built, and pillars already installed, is much deeper than what they were designed for. The project objectively needs to be changed,” Trutnev told journalists on Monday.

He added that the changes to the project are planned to be made without attracting additional federal budget funds.

The 2,209-meter-long (1.4 mile) structure linking Russia’s Far East with China’s northernmost Heilongjiang province is expected to take bilateral trade to new highs. The project aims to develop an international corridor connecting China’s northeastern railway networks with Russia’s Siberian railway networks, according to Li Huachao, a chief engineer of China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group.

The highway section of the bridge over the Amur river was completed last month. Cargo volume is expected to see an eight-fold increase to four million tons when the route becomes operational.

“The bridge has a strategic importance for us. It is very promising for our region,” said the governor of Russia’s Amur Region Vasily Orlov during the official ceremony marking the highway section’s completion.

The agreement on the ambitious $300-million construction project was reached in 2013, following 28 years of negotiations between the two countries. Construction works officially started in 2016. Russia plans to export iron ore, coal, mineral fertilizers, lumber and other goods to China via the link.

Russia surpasses US and Canada in terms of wheat exports, Vladimir Putin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin is pleased that in recent years Russia has evolved from a major buyer of grain to a major exporter.

“The Soviet Union has always been a buyer of grain, we were one of the largest buyers of grain and wheat. I would like to remind you that now Russia is the largest supplier of wheat to the world market, the number one,” Putin said at his traditional annual news conference on Thursday.

At the same time, Putin said that there is a need to get rid of politically motivated economic restrictions. “Certainly, it is better to get rid of politically motivated restrictions in the economic activity sphere. This inflicts huge damage to global trade and global economy,” he stated.

“Say, the United States impose restrictions against China — these are actually sanctions — this affects the whole global economy. The world’s trade level dropped immediately. If [the policy of sanctions — TASS] continues, it will drop further on,” the Russian leader said.

Russia also suffers from problems in relations with other countries, Putin said. “This is because it affects us, the demand for our key export goods,” he added.

Presidents of Russia and Uzbekistan discuss cooperation prospects at meeting

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held talks with Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in St. Petersburg on Friday, the Kremlin press service told reporters.

The two leaders discussed pressing issues and prospects for bilateral cooperation.

On Friday, a summit of the Eurasian Economic Union was held in St. Petersburg, along with an informal meeting of the leaders of CIS (Commonwealth of Independet States) member countries.

Turkmen president starts working visit to Russia

The working visit of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to Russia has kicked off.

The report said that participation of the Turkmen delegation in an informal meeting of the CIS heads of state in St. Petersburg is planned.

“Turkmenistan’s relations with the CIS are of mutually beneficial nature,” the statement said.

Ashgabat announced its participation in the CIS as an “associate member” during a meeting held in August 2005 in Russia’s Kazan city.

The Turkmen Foreign Ministry noted that Turkmenistan is committed to sound and fair relations within the CIS and reminded that following the meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of States held in Ashgabat Oct. 11, 2019, a Declaration on Strategic Economic Cooperation of the CIS Member States was adopted.

This document helps strengthen the legal framework for cooperation among the CIS member states and, at the same time, opens up great opportunities for partners within the CIS.

The goods exported from Turkmenistan to the CIS countries mainly include fuel and energy complex products, liquefied gas, polyethylene and products made from it, cotton fiber, fabrics and yarn, finished textile products, wool, animal oils, agricultural products.

In turn, Turkmenistan imports from the CIS countries technological and electrical equipment, vehicles, non-ferrous metals, wood, building materials, furniture, rubber, pharmaceutical products, chemical products, grain crops and food products.

Russia to send goods to Uzbekistan via agro-express trains

Russia will supply meat, dairy and confectionery products to Uzbekistan through agroexpress (specialized railway service for delivering food products), Alevtina Kirillova, project manager for the development of export logistics at the Russian Export Center (REC).

Recently it was reported that the Russian, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan railway companies, together with Russian Export Center (REC), are working on the possibility of launching express trains across the three countries.

“The development of the launch of agro-express trains is underway – together with the railways of Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The Russian export center acts as an integrator for launching such trains,” said Kirillova.

Kirillova added that it is planned to supply Russian meat and dairy and confectionery products to Uzbekistan with these agricultural expresses. Deliveries of fruits and vegetables are considered as reverse loading.

Project manager at REC stated that the quality of fruits and vegetables is very high in Uzbekistan and there is a demand for them in Russia.

“We expect that the rail companies of all three countries will benefit from the launch due to an increase in freight traffic. As part of the negotiations, certain agreements were reached on the possibility of parity tariff discounts from carriers. The provision of such a tariff discount, in turn, will be a good incentive measure to attract freight traffic,” Kirillova emphasized.

Azerbaijan and Russia sign co-op program in agricultural sector for 2020-2022

Azerbaijan and Russia signed a program of cooperation in the agricultural sector for 2020-2022.

On Azerbaijan’s behalf, the document was signed by co-chair of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev.

On Russia’s behalf, the document was signed by co-chair of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia, the Minister of Economic Development of Russia Maxim Oreshkin.

The 18th meeting of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia with the participation of deputy ministers of all Azerbaijani ministries, ambassador of Azerbaijan to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu, Russian Minister of Economic Development Maksim Oreshkin and other senior officials is being held in the Baku Business Center on Dec. 9.

Sino-Russian trade turnover to exceed $110 bln record in 2019

Trade turnover between Russia and China may set a new record and exceed $110 bln by the end of this year if the current dynamics persists, Spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry Gao Feng told a press conference on Thursday.

“Trade turnover exceeded $100 bln in January-November period as it increased by 3.1% in annual terms. If that dynamics persists it (trade turnover) will exceed $110 bln in 2019 setting a new record,” he said.

In 2016, Russia-China trade turnover grew by 2.2% in annual terms to $69.52 bln. In 2017, it surged by 20.8% year-on-year to $84.07 bln, while in 2018 it gained 27.1% to over $107 bln.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the BRICS summit in November that the task of boosting Sino-Russian trade turnover to $200 bln is realistic. The relevant departments of the two countries have been tasked with drafting a plan to reach that goal, he added.