China launches economic zone in Far East Russia

Mumbai: China has launched the first phase of an economic and trade cooperation zone in Russia''s far east aimed at simplifying trade procedures to the benefit of both countries, the state media reported.

>The Ussuriysk Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, located in Ussuriysk city near the border of China''s northeast province of Heilongjiang, covers 2.28 million sq meters and is approved by both Russian and Chinese commercial authorities,

>The zone is one of six zones China planned to establish in foreign countries - the others being in Zambia, Mauritius, Thailand, Pakistan and Cambodia.

More than 60 large and medium-sized domestic and foreign companies specialising in a large variety of manufacturing and processing industries, including shoes, apparel, timber, household appliances, automobiles and components, are expected to set up operations in the zone, Xinhua news agency reported.

Units setting up business in the zone will enjoy preferential tax policies and comprehensive legal and logistics services, including registration, customs and land procedures and visa applications.

The first phase costing 400 million yuan ($53 million) has seen production lines of six Chinese enterprises go into full operation, making shoes, wood and furniture.

The zone is expected to create more jobs in Russia when the project comes fully on-stream in 2010. Products will be exported to Japan, South Korea, the US and southeastern Asian regions, with transportation and costs considerably lower than on the Chinese mainland, the report said.