Finance Minister: Russia and China postponed signing agreement on national currencies payment system

Russia and China have so far ditched the idea of signing an agreement on mutual payments in national currencies; however, the amount of such payments is growing without such agreement, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov said.

By the end of 2018, Russia-China mutual trade may reach some $100 bln. In the first quarter of 2018, the ruble and yuan totaled 8.8% of the payments for exports from Russia to China, with the rest being in dollars, and 21% for imports from China to Russia.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin previously said, the use of national currencies in mutual trade settlements aims to enhance the reliability of banking services for the two countries’ export and import operations in conditions of global market risks.

Meanwhile, Russia and China have started work to prepare an intergovernmental agreement on the use of their national currencies in bilateral trade. A draft memorandum is ready; the sides have agreed to finalize and prepare it for signing. Along with trade settlements, the document also implies clearing transactions in national currencies.

However, the agreement will not be signed soon. “Indeed, we spoke about a memorandum. We have so far deviated from the Chinese side’s proposals and this format. We have agreed to hold talks between our central banks and between China’s Ministry of Commerce and Russia’s Ministry of Finance”, Siluanov noted.

“The number of our payments with China in national currencies is growing, with more payments made in the yuan than in ruble. In the restricted conditions, we are interested in direct payments, without any intermediaries. Our banks can open special corresponding accounts and conduct direct payments under contracts, and such accounts have been already opened. This has proven to be a fast and risk-free arrangement. It is profitable for us and for business: there are ruble accounts in Chinese banks and yuan accounts in Russian banks”, Siluanov concluded.

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