Russia aims to boost trade with Japan to $30 billion

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Trade between Russia and Japan grew by 20 percent to $20 billion last year, Economic Development Minister Maksim Oreshkin has said. He met with his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko in Moscow on Tuesday.

“Now we are specifying the categories of goods where we have prospects of increasing supplies,” the minister told journalists.

Moscow and Tokyo plan to develop tourism as well as investment, technology and infrastructure. “We discussed abolishing visas… That would be very significant and would immediately raise the exchange of tourists to a qualitatively new level,”Oreshkin said.

He added that the two sides are “completing a whole series of test deliveries of Japanese products to the European market through BAM (Baikal Amur Mainline) and TransSib (Trans-Siberian railroad).”

The countries are also negotiating a number of large infrastructure projects, including the Northern Sea Route, a shipping route that lies in Arctic waters and within Russia’s exclusive economic zone.

Last year, Japan and Russia conducted test shipping of Japanese goods to Russia using a sea link and the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Russia’s transport artery, which is 9,289km (5,772 miles) long, has great development potential for mutual trade between the two nations, according to Japan’s Deputy Minister of State Lands, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Toshihiro Matsumoto.

The two countries currently trade goods using sea and air routes. It takes up to 62 days to ship freight from Japan to Russia via the Indian Ocean. Using air-cargo makes freight transport much faster, but is still cost-intensive. The new freight route via the Trans-Siberian Railway will significantly cut transportation time between the two countries and could reduce costs by up to 40 percent.

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