Russia is not seeking to capitalize on trade tensions between the U.S. and China, according to Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.
Russia and China have appeared to be strengthening their economic ties amid deteriorating relations with the West and Beijing embroiled in a protracted trade war with Washington.
Speaking to CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore at the IMF Annual Meetings on Friday, Siluanov said Moscow and Beijing planned to reach a total trade value of $200 billion and develop investment relations on around 70 infrastructure projects and investment portfolios.
Russian and Chinese news agencies reported recently that the two nations planned to almost double their trade over the next five years, hitting $200 billion by 2024 compared to $107 billion in 2018, by implementing collaborative projects in energy, industry and agriculture.
However, Siluanov denied that Russia was swooping in to take advantage of the trade war, which is taking its toll domestically on both of the world’s two largest economies and contributing to a wider global slowdown.
“I can unambiguously say that Russia does not shape its policies on the basis of the problems of our neighbors, the biggest countries with the biggest economies,” Siluanov said, according to a CNBC translation, adding that Moscow was conducting policy in the “interests of bilateral relations.”
Over the past 18 months, the U.S. and China have slapped billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on one another’s imports. Over the summer, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised Russian President Vladimir Putin that China was “ready to go hand in hand” with Russia.
The leaders also signed statements committing to the “development of strategic cooperation and comprehensive partnership.”
“Yes, the restrictions that have arisen between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America are indeed leading to China looking for other suppliers, other markets and we are ready to participate in minimizing these sanctions, these restrictions,” Siluanov said.
“And our partners, especially in agriculture, in industry are working to compensate for these restrictions, these are necessary measures. But I would like to repeat that under no circumstances are our policies aimed at ‘profiting’ from other people’s problems. We are working within the framework of our mutual interests.”