October 14, 2014:Â As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China. Chinese premier Li Keqiang is in Moscow for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.
Medvedev said ahead of the meeting China was Russia’s “first foreign trade partner,” adding the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries doubled in the last six years.
The two are hoping to sign dozens of trade pacts, including a huge gas deal agreed in May.
Under the 30-year gas deal, Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom will supply 38 billion cubic meters of gas to China each year starting 2019. That is around 10% of all Gazprom’s sales
The price was not made public, but is estimated at around $456 billion over the 30-year term.
The deal was sealed at the height of the crisis in Ukraine. Europe is dependent on Russian energy, as around 30% of Europe’s gas comes from Russia. A disruption to the flow would cause a major problem for Europe.
Russia is hoping its economy will get a boost from its relationship with China. Sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries in the light of the conflict in Ukraine have slowed down its economic growth.
Russia’s Central Bank said the country’s growth rate will most likely drop further towards the end of 2014. The IMF says that the Russian economy is in recession, and has lowered its growth forecast to just 0.2% for the year.