The Republic of Karelia in Russia's northwest and Fujian province in southern China are expected to sign an agreement during the upcoming BRICS summit that could see trade bolster significantly between the two favored jurisdictions, Karelia's top official said.
"Currently, the preparation for the establishment of a friendly and cooperative partnership between the two sides has entered the final stage. Hopefully, we will sign the agreement during the BRICS summit and start to carry out joint projects as soon as possible," Artur Parfyonchikov, acting head of the Republic of Karelia, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
The Ninth BRICS Summit to be held in early September in Fujian's resort city Xiamen, themed "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future," will be the first summit among the BRICS members in the second "Golden Decade" of the multilateral organization.
Plans for expanding cooperation between Karelia and Fujian are based on their multiple similarities, Parfyonchikov noted.
Geographically, both are border regions. Economically, the two regions boast of rich resources in forestry, mining, tourism and other fields, and enjoy similar priorities in their respective country's national economic policy, which guarantees great potential for cooperation, he explained.
Joint projects in non-traditional industries including automation machinery, information technology, culture and education are also being explored by the two jurisdictions, he added.
In addition, the acting commissioner said Karelia has great advantages in attracting foreign investment and tourists, highlighting its well-conditioned railways, maritime and other transportation infrastructure, which efficiently connects the region to major cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg and Murmansk as well as neighboring Finland.
At present, Karelia is in talks with Chinese authorities to develop tourism projects and routes for Chinese tourists, according to Parfyonchikov.
Recalling a 50MW Beloporozhskaya hydropower plants project in Karelia launched in October last year, the first project in Russia financed by the BRICS New Development Bank, Parfyonchikov said it set an example for the pragmatic cooperation within the framework of BRICS.
"The construction of the hydropower plants is of great benefit to the local economy, and helps to boost employment as the workers involved in the construction of the project are mainly from the local community," he said.
Parfyonchikov expressed his confidence in future prospects for comprehensive cooperation among the BRICS countries, saying that BRICS provides its member countries with an efficient platform for dialogue and consultation.
"Karelia's hydropower stations project is a manifestation of the outcome of the BRICS Summit. I believe the ninth summit will enable us to take a further step ahead and open a new chapter in promoting cooperation among the BRICS countries," he said.