In an attempt to reduce its dependence on the West and the US dollar, Russia has agreed a deal with North Korea in its plans to use the rouble in international trade.
The majority of Russia’s trade is currently carried out in US dollar, but the country states that it has found an international partner ready to help lessen its reliance on the currency by trading in roubles with North Korea.
Alexander Galushka, minister of development of the Russian Far East, says that Russia will start trading with North Korea in roubles this month and aims to grow bilateral trade tenfold by 2020.
After the US and the EU imposed sanctions against several Russian businessmen, banks and officials to punish Russia for its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, Moscow wants to give its currency a greater role on the international stage and switch part of global trades to roubles.
Galushka says that although the size of bilateral trade between Moscow and Pyongyang rose by 64% in 2013 (compared to the previous year, it was still modest at US$112.7mn) the figure should be boosted to US$1bn by 2020.
However, a breakdown of the types of bilateral trade and how much of this trade will be rouble-denominated was not disclosed.
In April, Igor Shvalov, Russia’s first deputy prime minister, said that the government was already working closely with export-focused companies to get them to switch international trade to roubles.