Russian-Chinese business relationsb look set to develop rapidly folowing a visit to China in late June by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. This was preceded by the visit of Deputy-Premier Boris Nemtsov, co-chairman of the bilateral inter-governmental commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical co-operation, who was accompanied by other ministers and high-level officials.
Swiss exports to China are dominated by machine tools and pharmaceuticals, but in recent years the machine tools sec-tor has been hit by a slump in the state-owned textile industry. The lack of cashflow among Chinese factories has coincided with a period when Chinese machinery producers were starting to flood the market with machines far cheaper than the more sophisticated imported products from Switzerland. This erosion of competitiveness has had a big impact on the trade balance (see table). During the same period, Chinese imports to Switzerland have grown steadily.
The agricultural sector has been slow to attract foreign investment but with the government focus now on inland regions, incentives are starting to be introduced, writes China Concept. is this deal," says one banker close to it. "It says nothing about the rest of the picture, or what is or is not to follow."
Shortages continue to plague China despite impressive additions to electric generation capacity. Rapid economic growth demands the building of new stations but lack of finance and environmental concerns are slowing development.
Hong Kong has lost much of its manufacturing capacity to the mainland but opinion is divided as to whether it should try to recover lost output through investment in high-tech industries or continue as a service-based economy.