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Official website of the President of Russia

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Opening of the Russia-China EXPO and the Russia-China Forum on Interregional Cooperation

May 17, 2024, Harbin

Vladimir Putin took part in the opening ceremony of the 8th Russia-China EXPO and the 4th Russia-China Forum on Interregional Cooperation together with Vice President of China Han Zheng.

The President of Russia has also toured exhibition stands presented by Russia and China.

The 8th Russia-China EXPO is taking place in Harbin on May 17–21, 2024. Held since 2014 as an annual exhibition, its venue alternates between the two countries. The EXPO emerged as a major trade and manufacturing platform focusing on expanding and diversifying Russia-China partnerships.

The EXPO has a tradition of holding a large-scale exhibition. In 2024, it presents innovative solutions and joint Russian-Chinese projects in machine engineering, metals, as well as solutions for the energy and IT sectors, manufacturing financing, logistics and other domains. Russia placed a special emphasis at the exhibition on presenting its potential as a tourist destination.

There are 16 regions representing Russia at the EXPO: Moscow, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Yakutia, Udmurtia, Primorye, Khabarovsk, Kamchatka and Trans-Baikal territories, Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk, Amur, Arkhangelsk, Tula, Vladimir and Tver regions.

This year, the 4th Russia-China Forum on Interregional Cooperation is taking place as part of the EXPO with 28 constituent entities of the Russian Federation taking part in it.

* * *

Remarks at the opening ceremony:

Han Zheng (retranslated): Mr Putin,

Esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends. Good afternoon!

I am delighted to see you in Harbin and to join you at the opening ceremony of the 8th Russia-China EXPO. I would like to welcome all the participants and congratulate them on behalf of the Chinese Government on holding this exhibition.

First, I will read out a message from President Xi Jinping.

“I offer you my best greetings on the occasion of the 8th China-Russia EXPO.

China and Russia have been working together to achieve steady progress in their relations, making one step forward after another, and people in our countries have reaped the fruits of this cooperative effort.

This year, we are marking the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. Having reached this new milestone, we have new historical opportunities opening up ahead and ever growing potential.

Ever since its founding all those years ago, the China-Russia EXPO has established itself as a major platform for promoting bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

I hope that this platform will enable our business communities to hold meaningful discussions and expand their contacts so that they can work together to promote our mutually beneficial cooperation and provide a new impetus to developing the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Russia.

I wish the 8th China-Russia EXPO every success.

President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping. May 17, 2024.”

I will now make a statement on my own behalf.

Yesterday, the heads of our states held talks in Beijing. Together, they outlined a new plan for developing the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Russia and set new benchmarks for further strengthening our practical cooperation.

Today, President Xi Jinping sent us his message of greetings, and Vladimir Putin is here with us and will deliver his remarks. I believe that our cooperation will yield even more tangible results under the strategic guidance of our heads of state and with the contribution from all stakeholders.

This year, we are marking the 75th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. Over these years, we have made steady progress in forging deeper ties. The same goes for the way we view our trade and economic cooperation. In 2023, our mutual trade totalled $240 billion. China has been Russia’s biggest trading partner for 14 years now. We must also note that mutual investment has been on the rise, and there has been positive momentum in carrying out strategic projects in energy, chemical industry, aircraft manufacturing, space and transport. We have every reason to affirm that the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Russia serves the interests of both our nations and injects positive momentum into efforts to further expand our ties.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Over the past 10 years, the China-Russia Expo has become an important venue for establishing interregional ties and business contacts. The main theme of the 8th Expo is Cooperation, Mutual Trust and Opportunities. We are ready to continue promoting business cooperation, acting jointly with our Russian colleagues and based on our leaders’ instructions.

In this connection, I would like to highlight the following priorities.

First, we should bolster the dynamic growth trend in trade, utilising the untapped potential and expanding the range of commodities, trade in services and e-commerce. It would be practical to upgrade cross-border infrastructure, increase the freight-handling capacity of checkpoints and create favourable conditions for the movement of cargo and people.

We are giving priority attention to agriculture. We must increase access to agricultural markets. Food security and quality foods are a common goal for us.

Second, we must revitalise interregional ties. Interregional cooperation is a major driver of our countries’ interaction. It is symbolic that over 40 Chinese and Russian regions are represented here. It is very important for our regions, with their advantages and benefits for promoting trade and investment, to connect with each other.

The China-Russia Years of Culture were officially launched yesterday. We propose coordinating an engaging programme involving many regions and, of course, people.

Third, we must work together in new spheres. Our countries have common goals when it comes to national development and people’s well-being. Therefore, we propose applying our future efforts in new fields, such as smart cities, research and technological innovations, the digital economy, green development and healthcare, in order to enrich our relationship.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

As the saying goes, seek and you shall find. I have no doubt that high-level political and economic ties provide a solid foundation for helping our businesspeople find reliable partners.

Cooperation with Russia has always been a priority for the Heilongjiang Province, which keeps its doors open to its neighbour. I hope that the Expo participants are looking for and will find ways to expand their businesses.

In conclusion, I would like to wish success to the 8th China-Russia Expo.

Thank you.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues.

I am delighted to welcome you to the opening ceremony of this major joint exhibition, the 8th Russia-China EXPO, as well as the 4th Russia-China Forum on Interregional Cooperation, which is taking place as part of the EXPO.

The fact that Harbin is hosting these two important events is highly symbolic, since Harbin is one of China’s biggest centres for research, education and innovation. This is the first time I am visiting this city, and I have to say that it is very impressive. What a modern, beautiful and vibrant metropolis! At the same time, it has its own unique identity, rich history and traditions.

Since its founding in the late 19th century, Harbin has been a symbol of the close ties linking Russia and China and their intertwined destinies, and the mutual enrichment of their cultures and traditions.

By the way, as we drove through the city centre, it was immediately apparent that the historical district has a distinct Russian feel. Russian engineers and scientists played a significant role in the city’s economic development at the time, and to building its production base, major plants, factories and infrastructure facilities.

Harbin is a city that commemorates our nations’ brotherhood-in-arms. More than 12,000 Soviet fighters perished in the battles to liberate Northeast China from Japanese invaders. It was Harbin that on September 16, 1945, hosted the joint Victory Parade to commemorate the end of hostilities on the Pacific Front and of World War II. More than 300,000 people took part in the ceremony. It was a joyful celebration of the long-awaited peace and unity of the two peoples.

We have just laid flowers at the memorial to Soviet soldiers and officers. I am extremely grateful to the people of Harbin and the Chinese officials for preserving the memory of our liberators and our shared history of military glory. They have taken great care of our shared historical, spiritual and cultural heritage.

Building upon the glorious traditions of neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation, we can confidently look forward and embark on ambitious projects together, charting and implementing our grandest plans. President Xi Jinping and I discussed in detail the prospects of developing this close and multi-dimensional cooperation during our talks last night.

I believe we can take pride in the products of Russia-China economic links and cooperation.

Just a few years ago, a turnover of $100 billion in bilateral trade was considered a major success. Today, we have exceeded $200 billion. Chinese data shows $240 billion, to be more precise. And we can go even further.

The inseparable partnership between Russia and China directly contributes to the growth of both economies, ensuring our energy security, creating new production facilities and high-paying jobs, and ultimately improving the wealth and quality of life of our citizens.

I am confident that our strategic alliance in the energy sector, which serves as a key pillar of the entire global energy market, will continue to grow stronger. Russia is ready and able to provide the Chinese economy, companies, cities and towns with sustainable, clean and affordable energy, electricity and heating as a reliable and failsafe supplier.

We also have large-scale joint projects in industrial cooperation. Chinese automobile manufacturers are actively entering the Russian market. We are promoting the programme for developing a wide-body long-range aircraft and a heavy-lift civilian helicopter.

I want to stress: not only does Russia welcome Chinese businesses’ interest in localising their production in our country, but we are ready to provide investors from China with economic incentives, support and assistance. They will have access to Russia’s unique technology base and highly qualified personnel.

In a world on the cusp of the next technological revolution, we intend to consistently intensify bilateral cooperation in high technologies and innovations to harness our scientific and research potential. This is essential for us to secure leading positions and bolster the competitiveness of Russia and China in the global economy of tomorrow.

I would like to emphasise the dynamic development of our shared transport infrastructure that closely links our two countries. For example, in 2022, we opened two border bridges over the Amur River – a motor and a rail bridge – which already carry substantial passenger and freight traffic. Reliable and high-speed logistic corridors are crucial for both businesses and individuals in the border regions of Russia and China. We are committed to modernising border checkpoints and reducing the processing time for cargoes and vehicles at the border.

Our two countries are working jointly to diversify bilateral trade by providing incentives to a change in its structure. In particular, we are building up Russian agricultural exports to China. President Xi Jinping and I discussed this in detail yesterday. These agricultural products are distinguished by their high quality and environmental friendliness.

Russia supplies to China growing amounts of fish and other seafoods, as well as grain and pork. In effect, we are nearing the creation of a strategic Russian-Chinese production partnership similar to our close cooperation in energy.

Traditionally, the EXPO exhibition provides an excellent opportunity to promote industry-specific ties. Russia and China have taken turns in hosting this event for a number of years, and each time it attracts the keen attention of a growing number of participants, representatives of business and public circles, and regions of our two countries. The 8th EXPO, which opens in Harbin today, is no exception in this regard.

Russia is represented at the EXPO by the CEOs of its major companies and industry leaders, such as Rosatom, Rostekh, Russian Railways, and many others. The spectrum of economic sectors represented is extensive, ranging from mineral production and the petrochemical industry to construction, iron-and-steel, the light industry, and digital technologies.

The numerous EXPO events, panel discussions, workshops and roundtables are designed to familiarise the Russian and Chinese participants with both countries’ vast economic potential, help them find new opportunities for commercial partnerships, investment, and technology exchanges. Moreover, these evets facilitate the negotiation of new joint projects and agreements, which, I am sure, will be supported in every way by the governments of Russia and China.

In keeping with our Chinese friends’ wishes, a Made in Russia trade fair has been organised on the EXPO sidelines, whose visitors will be able to taste or purchase high-quality Russian products from more than 1,000 brands.

The highlight of this year’s exhibition is a Russian-Chinese forum on inter-regional cooperation. It is worth noting that now a vast majority of Russian regions maintain ties with their Chinese partners. Similarly, this cooperation involves nearly all provinces and administrative entities on the Chinese side. Over 300 cities and municipalities in both countries have established twin-city relations. Russia’s network of direct contacts and inter-regional agreements on trade and economic cooperation and on cooperation in humanitarian areas with China are more extensive than with any other country in the world.

The forum is attended by delegations from 25 regions of the Russian Federation, 17 of them led by the highest-ranking officials.

Moscow, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, the Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, and Amur regions, and the Khabarovsk Territory will present plans to create new mutually beneficial partnerships to their Chinese colleagues. These Russian regions have thoroughly studied their initiatives in depth and made them industry-specific. The Kaluga Region, for example, intends to promote cooperation in car manufacturing and create a cluster of plants to produce building materials.

It goes without saying that we believe there is great potential in fostering ties between the Russian Far East and Northeastern China.

I would also like to take this opportunity to invite our Chinese friends to the 9th Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok in early September. There, we will be able to continue our detailed discussion of opportunities for cooperation with Russia, including in territories of priority socioeconomic development, where convenient preferential regimes are being established for foreign investors.

In conclusion, dear friends, I would like to wish the organisers, participants and guests of the EXPO, this large and important forum, productive work, useful and constructive discussions, and all the best.

Thank you for your attention.

Thank you.

May 17, 2024, Harbin