Putin: Russia redirects trade to China and India

Putin said Russia is shifting trade flows to “reliable international partners” such as China and India, as the West tries to cut economic ties.

“We are actively re-orienting our trade flows and external economic contacts towards reliable international partners, mainly the BRICS,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech. presented at the summit of the five BRICS emerging industrial countries on June 22.

The BRICS summit was held online, with the participation of the leaders of Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa. The BRICS account for more than 40% of the global population and almost a quarter of the world’s GDP. According to Putin, trade between Russia and the BRICS countries has increased by 38% and reached $ 45 billion in the first three months of the year.

“Contacts between the Russian business community and the business community of the BRICS countries have strengthened. For example, negotiations are underway to open a chain of Indian stores in Russia and to increase the market share of automobiles and equipment, Chinese hardware on our market,” the Russian president said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the opening session of the BRICS summit on June 22.  Photo: AFP.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the opening session of the BRICS summit on June 22. Image: AFP.

Russia is also increasing its oil exports to China and India. Crude oil imports from Russia to China surged to a record in May, taking Russia past Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier.

Putin added that the Russian financial system is ready to connect with banks from five countries and that Moscow is looking for new ways to transact without relying on currencies such as dollars or euros.

In his speech, the Russian president also accused the West of ignoring “fundamental principles of a market economy” such as free trade. “That undermines business interests on a global scale, negatively affects people’s lives, all countries,” he said.

The BRICS summit, hosted by Beijing, is Putin’s first international forum with the heads of other major economies since he launched a military campaign in Ukraine in late February.

Three BRICS member countries, China, India and South Africa, abstained from a UN resolution condemning Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. China and India are two countries that have close military ties with Russia and buy large amounts of oil and gas from this country.

In his speech at the BRICS summit, President Xi Jinping criticized US and European Union (EU) sanctions against Russia, calling it a “double-edged sword”. Xi last week pledged to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Beijing would support Moscow’s core interests of sovereignty and security. Washington later warned Beijing risked “choosing on the wrong side of history”.

Russia and China have recently drawn closer together in the fields of politics, trade, and military, and affirmed that the bilateral relationship has “no limits”. China is Russia’s largest trading partner, with trade volume last year reaching $147 billion, up more than 30% from 2019.

Huyen Le (Theo CNN)

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