BEIJING, Mar. 22 -- China must enhance trade ties with Russia, Belarus, Finland and Sweden, said Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng Friday, a day ahead of Vice President Xi Jinping's 11-day official visit to the four European countries.
Gao told Xinhua that China had been Russia's biggest trading partner since February last year. Sino-Russian trade reached its peak in 2008, with trade volume hitting a record $58.8 billion.
However, the volume was dragged down by the global economic downturn last year, falling 31.8 percent year on year to $38.8 billion.
Sino-Russian trade volume grew 67.9 percent year on year in the first two months of 2010, which was close to the pre-crisis level, Gao said.
"More attention must be paid to the restructuring of trade cooperation between the two countries," said Gao.
China should import more electro-mechanical and technological products from Russia and the two sides should cooperate more in resources development and cross investment.
China was Belarus's biggest trading partner in Asia. Bilateral trade had grown 12-fold since 1992, when the two nations established diplomatic relations. Trade volume was $810 million in 2009.
Gao said the Chinese and Belarus governments should encourage companies to enhance cooperation in areas like energy, telecommunications and infrastructure, and support local banks to provide better financial services for each other's companies.
He said Finland and Sweden were famous for their innovation-oriented economies, which happened to complement China's economic pattern.
As China's eighth and ninth biggest EU trading partners, Sweden and Finland were also major vendors of technology to China, he said.
China signed technology contracts worth $420 million with Sweden and $370 million with Finland last year.
Gao said he hoped the two countries would help China gain EU recognition of its full market-economy status at an early date.