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Australia and Russia to Develop Common Market
September 6, 2007 16:20

Within the APEC summit, which is held in Australia this week, Australia and Russia are planning to increase its economic cooperation in many fields, including peaceful use of uranium. Australian businessmen regard Russian market as developing and perspective. At the same time the Russian side is to keep on investing into Australian oil industry.

This week Australia holds the APEC summit with 21 countries presented. Before the high level meeting on the on September 8, 9 there will be held conferences for businessmen and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

First of all Australian business is interested in the region of Far East and Sakhalin which can become a free trade aria. This region is new for Australia and it’s a good start point where big and small companies’ investments can compete in the field of infrastructure, building and services.

 Far East location is also attractive. Tim Harcourt, the main economist of the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), says it’s rather convenient to get from Australia to Sakhalin via Seoul. At that both Sakhalin and Sidney are situated at nearly the same time zones.

Tim Harcourt says if Australia and Russia’s interests collide in this or that field, for example, both countries are natural and energy recourses exporters, they can cooperate in this field like Australia does in dealing with Argentine and Republic of South Africa in vine production.

Australia can offer Russia technologies and education and hopes to develop the tourism market.

Economic relations of both countries are developing steadily. In January this year a delegation of Australian deputies, headed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, visited Moscow; in May Russian delegation of State Duma visited Australia. According to the Australian authorities, the sales turnover between the two countries has grown on 65% and has reached the point of US $ 611 million. The Australian export into Russia doubled in 2006, especially concerning natural assets (mostly alumina), meat and services.

Significant Australian investments in Russia are the company Amcor, a manufacturer and distributor of a broad range of metal, plastic and paper packaging, including steel and aluminum cans, polyethylene bags and tubes, and a joint venture of Russian metal giant Norilsk Nickel (NorNickel) and British-Australian mining major Rio Tinto.

 2005 became the year of first Russian investments in Australia. The company Rusal (Russian Alluminium), the second largest producer of primary aluminum in the world and the largest producer in Russia, bought a 25% share of Queensland Alumina Limited, the world's largest alumina refinery. Last year some other Russian companies, dealing with natural assets, invested in the Australian natural assets sector. And they are interested in further investments.

Australia and Russia have other opportunities for economic relations. Both countries have started consultations on widening the 1990 Treaty of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The future agreement will let Australian uranium manufacturers to export it for Russian energy producers.

APEC 2007 coincides with the 200 anniversary of official Russian-Australian relations, which started with the arrival of the Russian military ship Neva in Sidney in 1807. The year of 2007 is also the 150 anniversary of consular relations and 65 anniversary of restoration of diplomatic relations.


Irina Fomina


Tags: Russia International Russian oil    

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