( Interfax ) - Russian-Chinese trade showed a pace of growth in 2007 that had no precedent in several years before but it has been impossible so far to reach an agreement to boost oil and natural gas trade, "the key area of our cooperation," the Russian ambassador to China said on Saturday.
"Taking account of the pace of development of Russian-Chinese trade and economic cooperation (in 2007), the task of bringing bilateral trade turnover to between 60 and 80 billion dollars by 2010, which has been set by (Russian) President Vladimir Putin and the chairman of the People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao, will be carried out ahead of time," the ambassador, Sergei Razov, said at the opening ceremony for a Russian-Chinese economic forum.
In 2007, Russian-Chinese trade showed a pace of increase that "has had no precedent in recent years," growing 40% to an annual turnover of more than $48 billion, Razov said.
However, "Chinese exports were nearly entirely responsible for the high pace of growth, and as a result Russia has developed a deficit of $8.8 billion," he said.
"Crude oil, oil products and timber have accounted for nearly two- thirds" of Russian exports to China while machinery and technological equipment have made up less than 1.5%, the ambassador said.
Razov also complained that no deal had been clinched yet to boost oil and gas trade between Russia and China, "the key area of our cooperation."
"I can't see any politics behind this. It's a purely economic issue," he said.
The source of the problem are disputes over price and those stem from differing criteria, the diplomat said. "Specialists have a better knowledge of that, they will come up with a solution, but so far there has been no breakthrough in the negotiations," he said.
Razov also expressed hope that many long-term programs would emerge in 2008 to harmonize the development plans of Siberia and the Russian far East with those of Chinese regions bordering Russia.