Russia’s VTB Bank has signed a co-operation agreement with China Merchants Bank to develop bilateral trade and investment solutions between the two countries.

The agreement will also assist the countries’ co-operation in currency exchange in ruble and renminbi , while developing investment banking partnerships, interbank lending collaboration and trade finance operations.

VTB’s press office tells GTR that the agreement is a sign of strengthening trade ties between China and Russia.

“China is Russia’s largest trade partner in the Brics, with US$83.5bn in 2011 and an annual growth rate of 42%. This interbank co-operation is primarily aimed at better meeting the needs of all participants in foreign trade relations and is expected to create a more favourable environment for the expansion of trade contacts between Russia and China.”

The VTB spokesperson says that the agreement will also boost interaction between China Merchants Bank and VTB Bank’s branch in Shanghai, particularly with foreign exchange and deposit transactions, as well as those involving national currencies.