Russian-Chinese joint ventures will be created in Kaliningrad Region. A protocol to this effect was signed yesterday in Kaliningrad on cooperation between Heilongjiang Province in China and Kaliningrad Region education and business leaders. The protocol calls for the realization of seven projects oriented on the specifics of the Chinese economy. These projects will include joint-ventures for packaging tea, production and assembly of consumer electronics, shoemaking, foam-rubber and furniture construction, and the production of videocassettes and compact disks.
Kaliningrad Region Vice Governor Mikhail Tsikel, while commenting on the summary of the two-sided meeting, said that the Russian enclave 'so far has poor contacts with Asian and Pacific Rim countries in terms of developing joint businesses.' At the present time 30 companies operating in Kaliningrad Region have Chinese capital and foreign trade between the Kaliningrad Region and China reached USD 1.7 million in 2002 . At the same time trade between Russia and China is valued at approximately USD 392 million per year.
Nevertheless, Tsikel says that there is a high potential for developing bilateral relations and attracting Chinese investment to the region. He said the region has already received approval from the Russian government concerning the transport of containers with freight from China through the Kaliningrad port, which will significantly shorten the route of Chinese goods onto the European market.