What Happened: Russia and China have signed a number of economic deals during and immediately before the June 6-8 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Tass reported June 6. In one, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin and Chinese Science and Technology Minister Wang Zhigang signed a memorandum to create a $1 billion joint research and technology innovation fund. Meanwhile, Chinese tech giant Huawei reached an agreement with Russia's largest wireless carrier MTS to develop Russia's first 5G network, CNN reported June 6.
Why It Matters: These are the kind of high-profile, symbolic Chinese-Russian deals that can be expected from the forum; their true significance will become apparent only in their actual implementation. The deal between Huawei and MTS is the most notable, since Russia had previously displayed security concerns over 5G networks in general. Pilot launches are expected as soon as this year.
Background: Chinese officials have said that over 30 economic agreements will be signed during the forum. Trade between Russia and China grew to over $100 billion in 2018, an increase of more than 25 percent year to year. Even so, Russia accounts for just 1.8 percent of total Chinese exports while the United States accounts for 20 percent of total exports.
- Central Asia's Economic Evolution From Russia To China (April 5, 2018)
- The Rise of a Not-So-New World Order (Nov. 15, 2017)