Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev meet the press together in St Petersburg, Russia, on Nov 7.
China and Russia will promote cooperation on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to both government heads, who spoke to the press in St. Petersburg on Nov 7.
Premier Li Keqiang said SME cooperation between the two countries has great potential, in the context of a fragile world economic recovery and sluggish international trade.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev responded positively to Premier Li’s proposal. He said both countries should make efforts to support the development and cooperation of SMEs. “In Russia, SMEs only account for 20 percent of the total, a number far behind China,” said Medvedev.
At the signing ceremony before the news conference, China’s Ministry of Commerce and the Russian Ministry of Economic Development signed the protocol of SME cooperation.
The significance of SME cooperation is that it is a new growth point for China-Russia ties.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, trade volume between the two countries is expected to reach $20 billion by 2020.
But in 2015, the trade volume fell by 28.1 percent from a year earlier due to the sharp price decline in major international commodities — traditional cooperation projects between China and Russia focused on bulk commodities such as oil and gas.
But SMEs are not as sensitive to major commodity prices. And they are expected to create more jobs, react more rapidly to market demands and provide accessories to big projects and enterprises.
If the SME cooperation is a success, economic cooperation between China and Russia will be more solid, and both countries will see more people-to-people exchanges, China Business News said.
In China, Premier Li has been making efforts to support SMEs, including cutting taxes and administrative procedures and calling for entrepreneurship.
In addition, he also proposed SME cooperation in meetings with foreign leaders of countries such as Germany and South Korea.