2010/11/24

China, Russia ink deals worth 8.5 billion dollars: Wen

MOSCOW, November 24, 2010 (AFP) - Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday that Chinese companies had signed a dozen deals with Russian counterparts worth more than 8.5 billion dollars as he held top-level talks near Moscow.

"This morning our entrepreneurs signed 13 contracts worth 8.6 billion dollars," Wen told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during talks at the Gorky residence outside Moscow.

He said that in total 19 contracts were signed during his visit, including those inked following his talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

While neither Wen nor Medvedev elaborated on the nature of the contracts, several Russian companies announced deals with their Chinese counterparts.

United Company Rusal, the world's largest aluminium producer, controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, said it had agreed to acquire a 33 percent stake in Shenzhen North Investments, a subsidiary of Norinco, and also to create a joint venture with Norinco to produce aluminum alloys.

UC Rusal did not offer financial details of the transaction, only saying that the acquisition would "enhance the effective promotion of Rusal's products in the Chinese market."

Russian investment bank Metropol signed an agreement with Metallurgical Corporation of China to build a mining and processing complex in eastern Siberia, said Metropol spokesman Roman Chernigovtsev.

The construction of the plant is estimated at 1.33 billion dollars and the company has yet to raise that amount, he added.

On Wednesday, Russia's biggest lender Sberbank and Export-Import Bank of China agreed to open a 2-billion-dollar credit line to finance joint projects.

Energy supplies account for the bulk of bilateral trade but crucial gas talks have so far been mired in pricing differences, even though Putin said on Tuesday the talks were progressing "successfully."