Good afternoon dear colleagues and guests. I’m glad to see you all here today. My name is Kristine Mkrtchyan ( I’m a 4th year student of the International Business and Law Faculty, my major is IB ) and I’m very pleased and honored to participate at this conference.
Today I’ll be dwelling upon “Prospects of Trade Economic Relations between Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea”.
I want to mention the fact that bilateral relations between our countries have been rapidly growing since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Surely, that was the starting point of the increase and expansion of trade and economic relations between the countries.
It’s important to point out that nowadays South Korea is a priority in Russia’s foreign policy in the Asian-Pacific region and one of the key trading partners.
The recent years have seen a rapid growth in the volume of trade between the Republic of Korea and Russia. According to the Korean International Trade Association, in comparison with 2010, trade turnover for the first 9 months of 2011 increased by 26.8% to reach $15.7 bn. At the end of 2011, bilateral trade reached a record high of $25 bn. It is interesting to note that trade rose by almost 6% to reach $16.6bn as of the end of September 2012.
I believe that there is one more important point to be mentioned – that’s investments. Of course, there are various current and prospective projects in different fields but nevertheless according to their location they are heavily concentrated in only two areas, namely the Far East and Moscow. The possibility of diversifying locations to be invested into might be considered.
So now let’s move on to export and import operations. I’d like you to pay attention to this pie-chart which shows detailed export structure to the Rk. Russia, predominantly exports raw materials to South Korea, with the specific weight in the exports’ structure belonging to such commodities as oil and petrochemicals, aluminum and aluminum-based products, ferrous metal scrap as well as nickel and nickel-based products.
As far as imports from South Korea are concerned, they are mainly manufactured products such as machinery and equipment, high-technology equipment, computers, household appliances, offshore drilling platforms and petrochemical.
So I’m certain that for mutually beneficial cooperation and further growth of trade between the two countries we should:
· Improve and diversify the commodity structure of the bilateral trade
· Create conditions for the predictability and stability of access of goods and services
· Develop cooperation in the field of consumers’ rights protection
· Create favourable and predictable investment climate
· Establish transport connection
Evidantly, further growth of trade and economic relations assumes cooperation in railway transport development.
Evidantly, further growth of trade assumes well established transport connection.
Currently, there are four main alternatives of overland connection of the Trans-Korean and Trans-Siberian railways. These are through Russia (Khasan station), China (Zabaykalsk station), Mongolia (Naushki station) and Kazakhstan (TRACECA project).
So let’s consider each of them in detail. Here on the map you can see the possible junction way through China at Zabaykalsk station. This scenario implies that cost and time of delivery will double. Moreover, there will be additional customs clearance operations and formalities. What is more, charges on railway transportation in China are higher than in Russia.
As for Mongolia’s scenario it is similar to China’s scenario, with one more country involved. As a result, it is more costly due to additional expenses on cargo transportation, higher tariff rates and customs clearance.
Now I would like to consider junction through Kazakhstan. This option assumes the realisation of ТRACECA – Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia project, which suggests the creation of new transport route which will connect South-East Asia with Europe via China, Kazakhstan, and the states of Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus and the Black Sea.
Despite seemingly apparent attractiveness of this project, there are a number of shortcomings that reduce the profitability of its implementation:
· Trans-shipment of cargos from railway to water routes
· Heavy investments
· Differences in railway gauges
· High tariff rates and
· Increased delivery period.
So these all will just increase the ULTIMATE price of goods and made them less competitive.
Finaly, let’s consider junction through the Russian territory, being more precise, through Khasan station.
The connection of the Trans-Korean and Trans-Siberian railways through Russia is a major project in cooperation between Russia and the RK. The Transport Strategy of the Russian Federation till 2030 (it is the main document in Russia which identifies priorities and main activities in transportation and related spheres) stipulates reconstruction of the North Korean railway section Khasan-Rajin to be connected with the Trans-Siberian railway and creation of a container terminal in Rajin (Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Here on the slide you can see main advantages of junction of the Trans-Korean and Trans-Siberian railways. I want to point out that it will not only reduce the cargo delivery time, but also attract investments, increase turnover between the countries and provide an opportunity to enter the European markets.
In the long run, Russia and South Korea are strategic partners and there are yet lots of spheres/fields of cooperation such as nuclear weapon, technology, machinery and electronic equipment, nanotechnology and lots of others.
So I truly believe that relations between our countries will continue developing further and all the current projects will be implemented.
The railway section between Khasan station (Primorye Territory, the Russian Ferederation) and Rajin station (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), which was opened in September 2013, will increase the volume of transit traffic on the Trans-Siberian railway between Asia and Europe. During the reconstruction on the Khasan-Rajin railway section, 18 bridges and 3 tunnels over 4.5 km long were built and fully modernised. This railroad will allow the train traffic to be restored along the whole Trans-Korean Railway. It is going to be the shortest route to Europe and back; container freight trains will operate on it, which will provide an opportunity to reorientate to Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway the significant part of cargoes which are currently being transported by sea from South Korea to Europe.
Junction of the Trans-Korean and Trans-Siberian railways will not only reduce the cargo delivery time, but also attract investments, increase goods turnover between the countries and provide an opportunity to enter European markets.
It should be highlighted that Russia’s business interests on Korea in a significant degree objectively coincide with interests of both Korean states. Since South and North Koreas are interested in stable deliveries of oil, gas, electricity, products of wood-chemical complex, marine products as well as a wide range of modern technologies and scientific-technical products from Russia, such trilateral cooperation has good chances of progress.
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