The Russian side is ready to expand the use of national currencies in settlements as well as boost cooperation in trade and investment with Chinese partners, a senior representative of Russia’s largest bank Sberbank has said.

The expansion of the use of national currencies in bilateral settlements is an integral step in the further development of bilateral relations between Russia and China, Deputy Chairman of the bank’s Executive Board Anatoly Popov said in an exclusive interview.

In the current international situation, settlements in rubles and RMB between Russian and Chinese companies can guarantee the stability of cross-border settlements in the framework of trade and economic cooperation, he said.

Meanwhile, advancing settlements in national currencies is also helpful to achieving the long-term strategic goals of the Russia-China economic cooperation, such as greater volume of bilateral trade, a synergy of the national development strategies and increasing joint investment to the building of key infrastructures, he added.

“It will benefit the economies of both countries”

Popov said.

“They can receive a new impetus for development.”

According to Popov, Sberbank actively maintains close partnerships with leading players in various segments of the Chinese financial market, especially those banks operating in the provinces bordering Russia.

“We are interested in developing interbank cooperation of settlement in national currencies with Chinese partners in all areas of business,” he said.

Noting that China has remained as Russia’s largest trading partner for years, Popov said the two countries should create “even more comfortable conditions” for their exporters and importers, so as to achieve the target of 200 billion U.S. dollars in bilateral trade volume by 2024.

In this regard, Sberbank stands ready to provide a wide range of financial support service with a focus on trading with China, including consulting and measures to draw Chinese banks’ investment.

Popov cited the Yamal Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project as an exemplary in co-financing projects between the two countries.

Located in Russia’s Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic, the Yamal LNG project is the first large-scale energy cooperation project in Russia after the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) was proposed by China.

According to Popov, further prospects for cooperation between China and Russia are associated with the integration of the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI.

He said the Russian side has been working on the implementation of many projects such as the construction of roads, railways, seaports, airports, and logistics centres.

These projects will provide tremendous opportunities for successful cooperation between Russia and China for at least a few years, Popov said.