Vladimir Putin seeking greater machinery and equipment orders from China

Russian President Vladimir Putin will seek greater machinery and equipment orders from China as he meets with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao for two days of talks in Beijing.

Putin has made diversification of Russia's economy away from its dependence on oil and gas, which account for about a quarter of gross domestic product, a national priority. Russia's government is extending its control over machine-building and high technology, including the auto and aviation industries, to help spur economic growth.

Russian exports of machinery and equipment to China fell almost 50 percent in 2005 from a year earlier even as its overall exports to the world's fastest-growing major economy rose. Russia, which posted a trade surplus with China last year, mainly exports oil, timber, fish and other resources.

``We think it's necessary to undertake more active efforts to promote Russian machines and equipment on the Chinese market, especially among those groups where we undoubtedly have a competitive advantage, first of all equipment for nuclear and regular power and mining machinery,'' Putin said in an interview with Chinese media published on his Web site today.

``A change in the structure of Russian exports to China should be a priority goal for both sides,'' Putin said.

Putin, who arrived in Beijing today accompanied by a business delegation that includes chief executive officers from the nation's largest companies, will meet with Hu to sign agreements on trade and investment relations, including a plan to study a pipeline to China.

The presidents tomorrow will address a Russian-Chinese business forum that will include nearly 300 Chinese executives and officials, reports Bloomberg.

I.L.