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Diversification can boost declining Russia-Japan trade — experts

According to Japanese experts, a tendency towards diversification of imports and exports can play its positive role in business cooperation between the two countries

TOKYO, September 1. /TASS/. Trade between Japan and Russia can once again demonstrate growth after a decline by 30.7% last year, due to a tendency to diversify imports and exports, experts from the Japan Association for Trade with Russia and the Newly Independent States’ (ROTOBO) research institute told Tass on Thursday.

"From the start of the 2000s, trade between Russia and Japan had been steadily growing, but it slumped in 2015 under the influence of low oil prices and weakening of the ruble," the research institute of economy of Russia and newly independent states said in a commentary.

"However, we believe that it can once again demonstrate growth in the long-term prospect," the commentary said.

According to Japanese specialists, a tendency towards diversification of imports and exports can play its positive role. "At first sight, the structure of Russian-Japanese trade can be characterized as ‘Japan is exporting to Russia vehicles and imports natural resources’. But taking a look at other products in trade between the two countries, we will see an emerging tendency towards diversification," experts said.

"For example, Japan has started importing from Russia agricultural products, while Russia began importing small industrial machinery and components. So far these are not big amounts, but the very fact of this changeover is positive," the institute said.

According to the Russian Federal Customs Service, last year trade between Russia and Japan made up $21.3 billion, which is 30.7% less than $30.8 billion of the year 2014. Russian exports exceeded imports by $7.7 billion. Russia is placed 15th among Japan’s foreign trade partners, accounting for 1.6% of Japan’s foreign trade. Japan is placed seventh among Russian trade partners with its share of 4.1%.

More than 80% of Russian exports to Japan is mineral fuel. Among other exports items are aluminum and articles made from it, timber and charcoal, precious stones, precious and ferrous metals, caoutchouc and rubber.

Russia is importing from Japan vehicles and spare parts (more than 50% of imports), reactors, boilers, equipment and machines (19%), as well as electrical machines and equipment, photo cameras, plastic materials and articles from ferrous metals.