Russian national development bank VEB is interested in investing jointly with Chinese partners in projects that synergize the Eurasian Economic Union and the China-proposed Belt & Road Initiative, the bank’s head has said.

“VEB has developed strategic relations with Chinese partner institutions,” VEB Chairman Igor Shuvalov told in a recent interview.

He said that Russia plays a special role in Eurasian integration given its geographical location and vast territory, and the country could serve as a convenient artery for freight transport between Asia and Europe.

The Russian and Chinese governments have compiled a list of more than 70 investment projects that are of priority importance for both countries and attractive to investors, while VEB and the China Development Bank have been assigned the role to evaluate them, Shuvalov said.

“In many of them we intend to take an active part and VEB is considering 13 projects on the list,” he said.

The key Russian bank is drafting deals on the development of transport infrastructure along the Arctic shipping route, and it involves the construction of ice-class tankers and gas carrier ships at Russia’s Zvezda shipyard, Shuvalov said.

He hopes that Chinese investment will strengthen the competencies of the Russian shipbuilding industry and facilitate the efficient and quick transport of Russian liquefied natural gas to China and other Asian countries.

Senior Executives from VEB visited China last month and presented major projects in Russia to over 30 large Chinese construction, engineering and logistics companies

Shuvalov said that VEB plans to hold such roadshows on a regular basis to attract more Chinese investors.

VEB will assume the chairmanship of the inter-bank association under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization from October, Shuvalov said.

“I am sure that our chairmanship will be an additional opportunity for promoting industrial and infrastructure projects in the space of Greater Eurasia,” he said.