APEC to Rival EU on Russian Trade – 1st Deputy PM

MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will diversify its currently-Eurocentric foreign trade to ensure 50 percent of it comes from countries of the Asian-Pacific region, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Tuesday.

The list of prospective partners includes not just China, Japan, South Korea, but also the United States and other members of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a bloc of 21 economics of the Pacific Rim, Shuvalov said.

“Our trade potential with these countries is underdeveloped, we’re barely using a quarter of it,” Shuvalov said at a press conference in Moscow ahead of an annual APEC summit that will take place in Vladivostok next week.

“We will continue working with the EU…but we need to be doing as much with APEC members,” Shuvalov said.

The plan means that Russia will have to double its trade turnover with APEC, which stood at $96 billion, or some 23 percent of the country’s total trade turnover – an increase of about 9 percent year-on-year – in the first half of 2012, according to Russian State Statistics Service.

The European Union remains Russia’s biggest trade partner, with trade turnover in the first six months of this year standing at $200 billion, or almost 50 percent of the Russian total.

Russia joined APEC in 1998, but its involvement in the bloc’s operations remained mostly formal until recently.

Increased APEC cooperation is part of a general effort to revitalize the country’s flagging and depopulated far eastern regions, Shuvalov said at the press conference on Tuesday.

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